It can be difficult juggling the gift of leadership. For me I like to think that I could run anything on my own. One of my greatest strengths and weakness is independence. It is difficult for me to work on as a team. I’m a take it over kind of woman. As a leader it’s difficult for me to bring a halt to my creativity and unending vision and ideas so that I can collaborate with others and gain their wisdom and insight. To be a good leader, one must find the right balance between doing what God has called you to do and respecting those who have pioneered before you. Sometimes, as a leader I get tired of answering questions or pouring into other people. This is terribly selfish since God has put so many godly women into my life that are willing to sacrifice their time and their heart to influence me. If you are a leader and need encouragement, this is for you. If you want to be a leader, this is for you. This blog will walk you through the 23rd Psalm with leadership insights.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Before you can be a strong, godly, leader, you must first have God has your foundation. Notice it says my shepherd. Before you can influence others in Christ or to pursue their calling, He must first be your Shepherd.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater that all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:27-30. You must first belong to Him. Romans 10:9,13.
I shall not want.
A true leader is not leading a person for their own gain. Their contentment is found in Christ alone. People will come and go. People that you pour your heart and soul into may walk away from the Lord or turn away from wisdom. Your success as a leader is not based on the turnout of those you mentor. It is founded on your contentment and firm foundation in your Shepherd. Regardless of circumstances, He does not change.
He leads me beside the still waters.
As a leader it is easy to become overwhelmed or feel like the weight of the world lies solely on your shoulders. A good shepherd would ensure that the sheep could have water to drink near still, calm, waters. In order for this to happen the shepherd would have to protect the sheep. Allow your Savior to lead you beside the still waters and allow Him to protect your heart. Still waters speak of physical need. Sometimes I cannot adequately serve the Lord because I have not taken care of my body. If I haven’t eaten in hours, then I will become angry more easily. If I’ve only had three hours of sleep I may lash out more or be lazy in my duties. The spiritual and physical are connected. Though the things of God are obviously of greater concern, it is important that you take care of your physical needs, so you can be charged spiritually. The devil knows our weakness and will prey on them. 1 Peter 5:8-9. Sin is still sin even if it is done when you are tired or hungry.
He restores my soul.
This one is like the last one, but its chords run deeper and closer to the heart.
Who speaks into your life? Who shapes what you think about yourself and others? Personally, I have a hard time speaking my heart to other people. It is difficult for me to be raw and vulnerable. But we must remember that we are sheep. Sheep are not known for their wisdom. Leaders, your wisdom comes from The Great Shepherd. Our wisdom comes from Him. When we lead on our own cuddly, sheepish wisdom, we lead people astray. We must daily allow God to restore our soul, shape our emotions, and guide our thoughts. It is foolish to think that we only need God when life is difficult. Trust is something that is developed over time. Just as we need sleep every night to restore our physical bodies, so we need time with God to restore our spiritual body. For this restoration comes godly wisdom that will point others closer to Christ.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.
To lead you must first be able to follow. A leader must walk daily in paths of righteousness. Different decisions will lead different directions. As a leader, people will follow you sometimes whether you want them to or not. Lead a life that is worth following. 1 Cor. 11:1. Paths of righteousness means making wise choices daily. Wisdom doesn’t magically appear when you hit a certain age. There are people in their old age who have been through difficult times and have become bitter rather than learning through the struggles and becoming wise. There are young who have chosen to see the wisdom through the trials God has given them. Wisdom comes at any age, but it is a gift from God and a choice to seek Him in every circumstance. Allow The Great Shepherd to guide you along paths of righteousness. You must submit to His ways. God leads me down His paths of righteousness for His glory. Sometimes paths of holiness are difficult, the rocks under your feet have slipped into your broken shoes. The path of following Christ with all your heart is full of opposition. But it is for His name sake. Ps. 31:3, Ps. 5;8. Prov. 8:20 Living a life of denial of self is so that His glory can be displayed in You.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
You will walk through the valley…. many valleys.
2. Tim. 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
I think as a Christian there are certain trials that will only come because you follow Christ. John 15:18-20. Maybe you poured Jesus into your child as he or she grew up and they chose to turn away from Him. Maybe you are watching a family member suffer, or watched a godly person die. You wonder why. Maybe your marriage is dying, or your dreams are being crushed, or maybe God is closing a door you had longed prayed that He would open. If you are God’s sheep, His child, then Satan cannot steal your soul. But Satan will try to steal your testimony, steal your joy and passionate love for Christ. If you are walking through the valley, you don’t need to fear. He is with you.
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Do you know who is with you? Do you know? Remember when Moses was afraid when God called him to speak to Pharaoh? Moses was scared. He was probably mighty happy feeding sheep and caring for his family. But God reminded Moses who was with him.
“And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” Ex. 3:14.
Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Jer. 1:6)
So, the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Ex. 4:10-11.
The same God who parted the red sea is with you.
The same God who saved the adulterous woman is with you.
The same God who hung His son on the cross and proclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” is with you.
The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is with you.
The same God who was with the martyrs is with you.
The same God who guided Corrie Ten Boom through the concentration camps is with you.
The God who spoke the world into being is with you.
Dwell in His confidence today.
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
A rod guides. If you are hiking a mountain you need a guide. Even as a leader, I must constantly be reminded that God is the one I follow and ultimately lead others too. I would feel much more comfortable with a guide who has been down the path before and knows where he is going. The Lord has gone before us. He walked centuries before you and was around before time. You can trust that The Lord will guide you. His rod can comfort you because you know that Christ knows exactly what He is doing.
A staff has a hook. When the sheep stray from the path, the shepherd can steer the sheep back on track. A blessing of being God’s child is that He guides us when we stray. Heb. 12:5-6. It is a wonderful thing when God eliminates distractions or reminds us of our sins so that we can better follow Him.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
I love this one. Why would the Lord allow communication in the presence of enemies? I think that is a privilege (a difficult one) when God places you in the presence of your enemies. God wants you to be a light. Prov. 25:21-22. Matt. 5: 43-48. One time, God gave me an opportunity to speak into the life of someone I had struggled to love. I was afraid. I wanted to hang onto my resentment and hurt. It was easier to play the victim rather than the victor. I was scared, shaking, trembling, but the power of the Lord Jesus was with me. And, so I obeyed. I prayed with this person and loved them like Jesus. I haven’t spoken to this person much since. I think they might still resent me. But I was faithful. God gave me the golden, opportunity to shine for Him. Had I cowered down, the moment might have been lost forever.
Be obedient right when God calls you. It takes a leader to forgive. It takes a leader to step out by faith. Forgiveness requires a level of maturity that is difficult. But Jesus forgave all of us on the cross what else can we do but do likewise?
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Anoint is not a word used much today. But in Bible times an anointing was a sign of kingship, a sign of being special by God. 1 Sam. 16:13. God wants us to be royal priests and kings. We are to represent Christ. We are to be a leader that acts, smells, and carries the aroma of Christ. Ps. 92:10. You should be so filled with the Holy Spirit that He’s presence is all over you. When you speak, people are guided closer to Christ. When you pray people are drawn into the presence of Christ. Your attitude for Christ should spill over into every area of your life. So much so that you are pouring what you have learned into others who are younger in their walk.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
When you are following Christ, your life will not be perfect. I’m sure you have already figured that out for yourself by now. But you can trust that He will guide you and that His goodness and mercy will follow You.
When Christ is Your rock, Your Shepherd, and Your comforter then you already are dwelling with Him. Francis Chan put it well when He said that when we get to Heaven we will be spending eternity dwelling with Him. Once you are saved, then you begin dwelling with Him. 1 Cor. 6:19-20. As a leader, it is easy to become overly busy. But before you can do anything for God you must dwell with Him. You must abide with Him. John 15:4. As a leader, you are always leading. You are leading when you are in front of a group speaking. You are leading when you chose to go to church or chose to spend an hour alone with Him. You are leading when you chose to spend hours watching junk television or impulsive buy something you don’t need. How you spend your time, and your money is a way of telling those around you, who you worship. Simplify your ministry to this, The Lord is my shepherd, He guides me, restores me physical and spiritually and directs my thoughts and actions. I must walk in Him for His glory.