Empowered By Leaders

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established - that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom. 1:11-12)

This is a wonderful expression of the Apostle Paul’s desire to empower the believers in Rome. In my own life I have been blessed by the example of many great mentors and friends. People who seemed like heroes of the faith or people who have set the standard of ministry by their skills and devotion to Christ.

Yet, I can count on one hand, the number of leaders who inspired me by their story and gave me the tools to achieve what seemed beyond my reach. At times, observing successful leaders has left me more discouraged than encouraged, more intimidated than empowered. Their impact or success seemed so impressive that it left me feeling it was unattainable.

Perhaps you too have felt this way after leaving conferences, listening to podcasts or reading great books. Why, and how can it be avoided?

I believe it is a heart problem which manifests as “inspiration without impact”. Getting the most out of any leadership requires us to be empowered not simply impressed. I believe it comes down to a balance of two character traits, confidence and humility… “teachability”.

  • Teachability happens when we can hear and communicate with integrity and empower those who listen.

1. Confidence

Part of the problem is me. I want to be inspired and sometimes inspiration is blinding. My initial adrenaline rush feels good after hearing a great teaching or going to a wonderful conference, but it is followed by the inevitable sobering look in the mirror. Rather than empowered, I measure myself by what I see – not what God sees. When the skill level of a leader feels more like a “super-star” to me than authentic, then it has not really changed how I see. “Hype” will cause us to miss the point of a leader’s influence. When in situations where I don’t compare to others, I just try to admit it! I am not them, but this should not lead me to discouragement or disqualification. In fact, that may be why God has this person’s voice in my ear… to shift my thinking, so that I see myself the way God sees me. We must recognize that God has made each person unique and special, and we must tune our ears to hear at the heart level, every time.

Likewise, leaders and communicators also need to be secure. Few things will destroy you faster than insecurity. Leaders or those with a larger platform should exude confidence. I once heard a well known preacher say that he used to vomit every time before he got on stage, because he was so nervous. One key to his overcoming this was recognizing that it wasn’t about him, but about God. To help shift his mentality and his fears, he would take a step forward before getting on the stage and consciously think about stepping into Christ and His strength (Gal. 2:20).

  • Here is the Truth: When any person finds their confidence in themselves rather than in Christ, it leads to confusion rather than empowerment. (Jn. 8:31-36) Truth is reality from God’s perspective!

2. Humility

As a disciple or ”learner” it’s easy to feel the delight of being inspired and impressed by powerful leaders. Yet, its honesty and authenticity that empowers us to achieve the goals of God’s Kingdom on Earth. I try to listen with a personal need to gain instruction, rather than feel like I’m getting material to teach to others. Humility is what causes teaching to become training, information to become revelation and testimony to become empowerment. I cannot just “listen” – I must “hear” with spiritual ears what a leader is communicating. My life is my testimony, not just my words.

The great temptation for leaders and followers alike is to avoid talking about weaknesses and flaws. But every strength is susceptible to be a weakness when it is not tempered by humility. There is a subtle fear in all of us that if we let others see who we really are that we will loose credibility and shrink our influence. But leadership is only influential when it is honest and humble. We have all seen what hype can do! There is nothing wrong with “putting your best food forward”, but don’t present an illusion of reality. Walk in integrity and present the real you.

Here is the Truth: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”  (Jms. 4:6). When you feel God’s resistence, there is a reason. Stop and address it and God will give you ears to hear and a heart of understanding (Prov. 3:34).

Christ, Real Confidence & Humility:

Christ modeled this so beautifully. Unlike you and I, He actually had it all together. He was flawless and perfect. God - in skin and dwelling among us. Yet, “He humbled himself, taking on the very form of a servant and coming in the likeness of men”  (Phil 2:5-8). While on earth, He obeyed the words of His parents and in His ministry He listened to the voice of His Father in Heaven (Jn. 5:19). He modeled the confidence and humility that empowered His disciples and now by the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to have the same mind and the same character.

Be Yourself:

You don’t have to be in the spotlight or emphasize your achievements, to have influence and empower others. My advice: do your best and be secure with your calling in Christ. More opportunities will come as you do your best in your current position. Don’t allow shame or pride to poison your heart from receiving from those who are ahead of you or achieving what seems impossible.

Its Christ in you that is the hope of Glory! He is the One we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Col. 1:27-28) Hallelujah!

Leave a Reply

Archives