I believe life to be a struggle. And I think its that way because that is the way God designed it. He wants us to struggle so as to encourage us to put our trust in Him. When things go smoothly, its much more difficult to admit your need for Him. But when things are falling apart, you are forced into His arms confessing your need for Him.
In leadership, there are points in your journey that God purposely puts there to reawaken the leader to his need for God. Sometimes a leader can become so reliant on their giftings that they will rely more on themselves than they do on God.
Godly leadership must always come from a heart of knowing that we are utterly dependent on God to accomplish his calling in our lives. When we take the calling that He has given to us and try to accomplish it in our own strength it will always fail.
Think about the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Abraham was given a prophetic promise from God – a calling. God had given Abraham and Sarah the promise of a son and truly more than that, a promise of offspring that would be innumerable.
But after years of believing for that promise, they began to doubt. It was not a lot of doubt, but they began to doubt. And when doubt creeps in, one of the tendencies in leadership is to try to “help God out” and in our strength try to bring about the promises of God rather than waiting for God to fulfill what He has promised us.
Abraham and Sarah tried to bring about the promise in their own strength through Hagar. This resulted in not a “son of the promise” but an Ishmael, a son of the flesh. And the result was the offspring of the son of the flesh was always going to war against the offspring of the son of the promise. When we try to bring about the promise in our own strength, sometimes we create our biggest enemies.
Paul in his first letter to Timothy offers Timothy encouragement for his journey in leadership. Timothy is a young man, but he has been given giftings to compensate for his youth. God has called Timothy to pastor a congregation of believers in Ephesus.
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”
1st Timothy 1:18-19
Paul tells Timothy to recall the prophetic words that he has received. Remember them. Hold on to them. Don’t forget them. Paul is saying that when God speaks something over your life, you have to hold on to it. He is saying that by holding on to these words, you are fighting a battle.
What kind of battle is he referring to? The battle of your mind. Your mind will tell you that God has given up on you – a battle against doubt. As years pass and that prophetic word has still not be fulfilled, you will face feelings of doubt and insecurity. What are you going to do in that moment? Remember the prophetic word, Paul says. Hold on to faith – faith in God to complete what he has started in you.
I’ve known a lot of leaders, myself included, who have struggled to hold on to the prophetic words that God has spoken over my life. From the time God called me to be a pastor until the time I was installed as pastor over my first church was 21 years. Throughout that time, I went from faith to doubt to feelings of failure because that word had not come to pass. But that word never truly faded from my heart. I still believed God could do it, even when it looked impossible.
God puts his leaders in impossible situations to draw out faith. Timothy may have felt that his situation was impossible. You may feel your situation is impossible. That there is no way God can bring to pass what He wants to do in you. Stay there, that’s exactly where God wants you. Remember His promise to you and hold on to faith. Be ready to be amazed by what God can do. He specializes in the impossible!