Read Exodus 14:13 – 31
“The Lord is a Man of War; the Lord is His Name.”
Interesting statement, “The Lord is a Man of War”.
When you think of Jesus, do you think of a Man of War? When you think of the ideal Christian leader, do you think of a person who is ready to “have it out” with others?
If your context of Christianity is similar to mine, we see Jesus as more gentle and kind, and Christian leaders as nice people who build people and usually don’t ruffle feathers. Do you ever feel guilty when you have purposely or inadvertently caused someone some kind of grief? I think many of us do.
I wonder if our passive view of Jesus stems from the fact that when He was taken through the process leading to crucifixion, He did not speak out in defense of Himself. Bruce Marchiano, in his book In the Footsteps of Jesus, suggested that the little that Jesus did say incited the flames of riot and violence that drove Him to His crucifixion. Marchiano suggests that Jesus was intentionally making sure the crucifixion happened. He had a purpose, and He was going to accomplish it. Thank God!!
In other situations where Jesus was at work, we see aggression, and the opposite of “nice” or “respectful” behaviors. He confronted the leaders of His day in a stinging way, in front of the people. When He found the buyers and sellers trading in the temple, He did not calmly or relationally ask them to leave. He took up a whip and threw tables around in order to drive them out! Gentle Jesus??
What does that mean to us as leaders in ministry? Often, our position can be delicate politically, or many of us want to make people feel good – and people want us to do that for them. So we are under pressure to be nice, kind, uplifting, and not harsh.
The truth is that I personally am often too afraid to be that straight with people – whether it is because I don’t want the discomfort of conflict, can’t afford to lose volunteers, or just because I need to keep my job! Can you imagine treating people the way Jesus did – and carrying on in that ministry?
If we are to truly to be like Jesus, we need Him to infuse us with courage, security, passion, and confidence. If we ask, and He does that for us, we can expect to be unpopular at times, but we can also expect to be as effective as Jesus.
Therefore, I ask Him to fill me with His Spirit of passion, confidence, and courage to encourage sometimes, but also to confront and be unpopular. That is going to be hard to do at times. The truth is that popularity is not a sign of effectiveness, contrary to popular belief!!
On our own, we cannot truly be like Jesus. Our natural instincts and desires go against that. We need to catch a true glimpse of what it really means to be like Jesus, so that we can operate in the total freedom of who God truly made us to be as leaders.
Go on today in the fullness of who He made you to be. Without apology! Just like Jesus!