Friday, October 05, 2007

Two Key Verses for Godly Leaders

I personally go back to 1 Cor 16:13-14 frequently when I need a kick in the pants to do the right things. Here is a devotion I gave recently on these two verses; perhaps it will help you, too.

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"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." (1 Cor 16:13-14)

This is a terrific pair of verses for godly men, for leaders in the church and in our homes. Let's unpack it.

Be on your guard. Echoes of Psalm 4:23, guarding yourself, and the idea of being watchmen on the walls (Ezekiel 33) for others. We live in a dangerous environment for our souls. 1st lesson in Kendo: if you're close enough to strike him, he's close enough to strike you.

Stand firm. Our failings so often are because we didn't stand or we weren't standing firmly. Note that we're to stand - if our work was finished we could sit. And we're to stand confident in our convictions in the faith. And it is THE faith we stand in - the basic gospel message.

Paul urged the Corinthians to stand firm five times in his two letters to them, so this was a key issue for them (as it is for us):
1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.

Be men of courage. Be, an active word! Women can be courageous, certainly, in Christ. Here we're called to be real men. Courage is moving ahead in spite of your fears. Courageous men perform in battle, not just passively squeak by. Courageous men put others first.

Be strong. "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old." (Proverbs 20:29) We're to be (there's the active word again!) strong. People should be able to feel our grip, our presence, our words, our support, our giving, our instruction, our rebukes. There's nothing namby-pamby here for leaders! We've got some gray hair - so we apply strength with wisdom and focus (which young men often lack).

Do everything in love. Love is both the fuel and the boundary for our actions. All our doings are defined by love. "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19) And it is Christ's love that compels us (2 Cor 5:14) to serve Him and others.

"Rise up, O Men of God!"

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