Posts Tagged ‘defining reality’

Getting out of Midian

This is not our destiny!

Midian is not our destiny!

There is a powerful story in Scripture about Moses running to the land of Midian. It happens after he kills an Egyptian who had abused one of his Hebrew brethren (Ex. 2:11-15). In this circumstance Moses expresses a common feeling… what most of us feel in the midst of injustice.

In verse 12 it states the problem… “He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand”. The spirit of strife arose inside of Moses to such a degree that it blinded his heart… forsaking the command of God in regards to murder.

Choices are the fruit of a heart’s focus!

Raised an Egyptian and coming to grips with the Hebrew heartbeat was like standing in an intersection and not knowing which way to turn. Moses’ wrong choice released the confusion that resided in his heart and created an enormous backlash among his brethren. The next day he went out to find two Hebrew men fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?” The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses panics… “oh no, word’s gotten out; people know about this”. Secrets are often difficult to shake free from. Pharaoh hears about it and tries to kill Moses, but Moses gets away to the land of Midian. He sits down by a well with his confusion and there receives the call to be the “hand” of deliverance for God’s people (Ex. 3:1-4).

Midian is not the place Moses chose to go…

But God would meet Him there. Interestingly the word Midian means “striving” or “habit” and the Midianites were the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son from another season of bad choices. Oddly enough its very rare that one generation’s poor choices do not become a crucible for our life later, but that is another blog topic. Yet now, in order to escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses runs away to Midian, a place of habitual strife. He finds himself face-to-face with… “himself”.

Sounds like God’s intervention…

Running away takes Moses to a burning bush… with a broken heart.  Moses became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family… and he needed a new identity. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. The good news is that Moses did trust God (Heb. 11:27) and leave Midian. Moses found the God who transforms our identity!

We must recognize the God who transforms us as quickly as possible and allow His priorities to shape our life choices. If not, we may find ourselves visiting the land of strife. Leaving Midian can only happen when we have felt the crushing reality of God’s intervention in our character. Yet it must happen if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us.

Character transformation is the defining reality of what makes a leader attractive to those who follow.

When I find myself on edge, offended or bitter toward others, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in “Midian, the land of strife”. There are spiritual realities that effect my thought life, choices and behavior patterns. God takes us into places that test us and show us what resides within our hearts. He does this for our good, as His way of chastening His children.

God chastens those whom He loves and accepts! (Heb 12:4-11)

The Christian attitude toward anger and strife should be consistent with God’s heart. There is just no room for angry outbursts or strife ridden behavior in the processing of Christian relationships. We should call it sin and repent of it or we give place to confusion. Like Moses, we could wind up in the land of Midian until it gets burned out of us.

Here is what the Bible says: (Ps. 37:8)(Prov. 19:19)(Prov. 27:4)(Eccl. 7:9)(Gal. 5:19-20)(Eph. 4:31).

Living in Midian is like living next door to a volcano that only explodes once every couple of months. I believe many folks live in Midian, a land cursed by a spirit of strife and although the erruptions only occur every few months; life is lived in confusion and fear, waiting for when and how destructive the next outburst will be. This must not be our legacy, because it is most certainly not our destiny.

Getting out of Midian is as easy as recognizing the sinful behavior and repenting of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to deliver, then begin to rest upon the Truth that God is faithful to meet you in Midian with the power to transform your heart.

In Between Stuff

The in-between stuff is the key to great spiritual leadership. If defining reality and influencing others is the appetizer and the “thank-you” is the dessert. What’s the main item on the leader’s menu? Well, I would like to propose that its the in-between stuff, where the true leader serves, inspires and produces. This is where the leader learns and reveals to others the most important truth of all… NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD!

I think of the dash on a tombstone. You’re born one year, there’s a dash and then another year. That dash represents the in-between stuff. Where life has shape and definition… where influence becomes evident. That dash is our life! As a spiritual leader in God’s Kingdom, it’s the in-between stuff… when nobody is looking, that makes all the difference.

Beginnings:

As leaders, we often work on the “beginning”: a new program needs to be launched, an organizational meeting must be announced, a committee or board needs to see your vision. The whole team longs for our input, because perception will create motivation in the beginning of something. But whatever it is, it is formed on the inside of us, in those quiet moments where we hear God.

Endings:

Can I also say we are equally excited about “endings”! We love to celebrate and appreciate jobs well done! Winding down a missions’ trip or honoring other leaders around us. It’s done with skill and finesse. There may be some bitter-sweet feelings at times, but transition pulls on our sense of accomplishment.

Still I have to say…

It’s that in-between stuff that gets done on time, keeps us up late at night and gives us grey hair… that represents the most important work! Its the bread and butter to spiritual leadership. Sometimes we call it the routine, the day-to-day grind or the grunt work, but it is the substance of our offering to God. Its what must be done by faith! The smallest decisions, the little activities, the stuff no one really thinks about… but cannot live without. Its the stuff that requires prayer, God’s counsel and lots of self examination. Its this stuff, between public moments that define us. That’s where spiritual leadership comes together!

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