Tag Archives: galatians

Leadership – Guarding Our Mouth

Here’s a really well known verse:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” – Galatians 5:22-23

We often think of the fruit of the Spirit as personal qualities, but each one of them is a leadership quality too. A leader who has no love, no joy, no faithfulness… isn’t going to be leading for long.

But you’ll notice a highlighted word in the verse above – ‘self-control’. When it comes to leadership and longevity in a leadership position… I reckon this has to be one of the most important qualities that we can possess.

In fact if you think about it, pretty much every leader who has ‘taken a tumble’ has done so because they lacked self-control… be it with their wallets, their libido, or with the words they used. And it’s the area of our words that I want to look at today.

Cue another well-known verse:

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check – James 3:2

What’s contained here is stunning when we think about it. James basically says, if we’re able to keep our tongues under control, we can keep our whole body in check. Could it be that self-control in the area of our speech is a key to unlock it’s power in the rest of our lives too? Hmmm.. thoughts to be explored another time.

One thing I love about King David is that he’s so brutally honest in the Psalms. And here in Psalm 39 we get an incredible behind-the-scenes insight into the heart of the man:

I said, “I will guard my ways
That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle
While the wicked are in my presence.”
I was mute and silent,
I refrained even from good,
And my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;

Then I spoke with my tongue:
“ Lord, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
– Psalm 39:1-4

David is clearly writing about an episode that’s taken place in his life. Because of some negative experience he’s had previously, he’s made the decision to be way more careful about what he says… especially around those he doesn’t trust (‘the wicked’).

Let’s break it down:

1) David Makes A Good Decision To Guard His Mouth

In life, it’s wise to reflect on situations that haven’t gone well, so that we can make adjustments for next time. Otherwise we can end up in cyclical patterns where history continues to repeat itself.

When we make decisions on how we’re going to react in a situation BEFORE it happens, it empowers us to stay on track WHEN it happens.

For leaders, there’s some good wisdom here that David shares – in that it’s smart to be careful with what you say around other people.

For me, I’m a natural extrovert, which means that I have a tendency to think out loud and come to conclusions while I’m speaking. But I’ve learnt over the years that it’s wise to be careful with situations and ideas that are still evolving because not everyone has the ability to process well what they hear you say. Some people get the wrong message or twist your words, some people tell others things they shouldn’t, some people gather ammunition that gets fired back later on.

David had been through all this and came to a wise conclusion. Be self-controlled when it comes to what you share.

We always have the opportunity to ADD to what has been said later, but we never have the chance to REMOVE something that has already escaped our lips.

2) David Takes His Decision A Step Too Far

“I was mute and silent… I refrained from even saying anything good..”

Uh oh. It seems like David got offended somehow and decided to give the difficult people around his life the silent treatment! It’s funny isn’t it – because we can start out to solve an issue with the right intentions but if we’re not careful we can actually overbalance the other way.

David went from shutting his mouth to actually shutting off his heart to those around him. I’m sure there’s times that every leader has been tempted to do that when you’re dealing with difficult people. BUT – he was their King. These people may have been hard work, but they still needed to hear from their King.

It’s really important for us as leaders to check our heart with those that we are leading. We can create huge problems for ourselves if we don’t deal cleanly and authentically with people. We can’t let the actions of other people change our value system or define the way that we will relate to them.

3) David Becomes Aware Of The Effect On His Heart

The thing with giving people the silent treatment… is that it doesn’t usually have the desired effect, and David discovers this firsthand. His silent treatment just ends up making him more and more angry with people.

Anytime you find your heart is getting hot and angry… then something is out of order. Something is going wrong!

Many times, silent treatments end up with explosions as all the emotions that have been held in inevitably find their way out. Fortunately though, this Psalm doesn’t end this way!

4) David Gets Heavenly Perspective

In the midst of it all, David goes to God. When he does this – David starts to get an eternal point of view – and realises… all of this is just so temporary.

It seems to me the secret to self-control is remind ourselves that ‘this too will pass’. In the moment we can feel like a problem or issue is our whole world. But if I deal with the emotion right, then it will pass, and I will win the victory.

In Conclusion

1) Make the decision to be careful with what you say as a leader – your words carry weight

2) Be aware that great communication is needed – even with difficult people – so that you can stay in an effective place of leadership

3) When you’re heart is angry – something is wrong. Don’t proces out of the moment.

4) Eternal perspectives help us thorugh temporary troubles!

See The Glory

We were blessed at The River to have Ps James Anson give a great message last Sunday morning!  It felt like a real ‘now’ word for us as a church.

Something that really resonated for me in what he shared is the idea that not only is there an element of glory in all that God has made, but the importance of the right environment so that the glory can be seen.  He talked about a caged bird… having the glory and potential of flight, but not the capability. The right  environment is vital for gifts to be seen and to grow.

Ps James went on to talk about the presence of God, and how His presence is vital for us to grow and to move in the gifts He’s given.  It was so good being able to pray at the end of the meeting and see breakthroughs for people.

But the word ‘environment’ really got me thinking even more – and about two responsibilities that I believe we all have.

1) In any area that we have leadership over we need to create environments where the gifts of others can be seen and grow. 

Whether it’s as a parent with our kids, a teacher in a classroom, a manager at work, or amongst our friends and co-workers – each of us has power with our words and actions to shape environments.  The more encouragement, enthusiasm, life and hope that’s around our lives – the more others come to life when we’re around.

I believe this is the challenge that God extends to those who want to be great leaders.  Great leaders not only build great people, but they create great environments for them to operate in.

2) We need to find the way to flourish in the environment that God has placed us.  

Too often I hear people complaining about how someone else is to blame for them not being able to move in their gift.  Whether it’s their parents, their boss, their husband/wife, or even their pastor!  “If only they’d release me… then I could be all that God called me to be”.  They blame others or their situation for not using the gift that God has given them.

I think that’s rubbish…. and I’ll tell you why.  Look at Joseph in the Bible.  He was able to use his gifts at home, with Potiphar, in the prison and in the palace.  He didn’t wait for the environment to be made – he got on and used what he had in the place where he was positioned.

I’m convinced that in every place that God puts us, there is an opportunity for us to use the gifts that He’s given.  Maybe it might not be public, with lots of people cheering and shouting our name – but are we performing for the crowd or the audience of One?

So get that gift out and get going.  Create environments for others, and take the opportunities that God is giving you today.  The world needs to see Christ in you!!

Hanging On For The Win

Life is often about making tough sacrifices today because we’re looking forward to a better tomorrow.

Whether it’s holding back on eating that chocolate cake because you’re going for a weight goal, putting those night hours into a course to get you out of a dead-end job, or even putting up with less-than-perfect conditions in a group or team because you’re wanting the final win more than your temporary comfort.  We’ll never see greatness tomorrow without some kind of sacrifice today.

But I have to say, one of the most tragic things I see is people who pay great prices, and then pull out too soon – before they get the breakthrough.  They go through a season of pain for nothing.

I was struck by this thought this morning when I read this verse:

“Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai” – Numbers 26:64

Through Joshua, God parcelled out parts of the Promised Land to the Israelites.  They’ve made it.   This is reward day.  They’re now receiving the reward of their faith.  Yet with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, an entire generation – thousands upon thousands of people – missed that moment.  They’d been through seasons with no water, with no food, they’d been attacked and set upon… they’d endured hardships and pain… and for NOTHING.  They didn’t get what was promised because they gave up.

The thought of that makes me seriously want to stick in the journey through hardship!  I mean, if you’re going to go through the pain and suffering in life, if you’re going to make sacrifices and live a fasted life… then at least make sure you stick it out to the end to get the reward!

Paul gives us this encouragement:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” – Galatians 6:9

God is preparing your life for wins.  He’s got a Promised Land ready to carve up for you, and He wants you to be there on the day He hands it out!  Don’t let difficulties, doubt or discouragement rob you of the reward you’ve already given so much for.  Hold in there and don’t give up… the prize is totally worth it!