If you are like me, this time of year with its newness, its freshness, brings to mind characteristics or qualities in which I would like to be stronger – we call these “disciplines.” Disciplines are really just habits that we want to either add to our current state of being or shore up what is already there. But their intent is always to improve us.
Disciplines can be varied in nature – physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. They are meant to hone our focus and bring a certain bulls eye into view with more clarity and intentionality. Typically, they are not our natural bent but rather areas in which we desire to develop or grow – in other words, they are life upgrades.
The pursuit of various disciplines is usually not self contained to just one sector of our life. For example, getting after my exercise regiment impacts more than just losing weight or being more toned. It also impacts my stamina, my attitude, and my overall outlook in life. Others receive the benefits beyond just the discipline that I am pursuing.
So it is with spiritual disciplines. They are designed to enhance our intimacy and love for God, but in doing so, they allow us to be more impactful in our relationships with others and lead with more clarity, courage, and initiative.
I like one definition that I came across of spiritual disciplines:
the intentional development of authentic spiritual life and intimacy with God.
In other words, they serve as tools of alignment, tools that shape our will and affections to true-up our view of God.
Earlier this week, I was reading from a most impactful book, A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent. In his introduction, he mentioned 10 spiritual disciplines that I want to relay to you, my readers. They got me thinking – thinking of how these disciplines could greatly impact my ability to lead and influence if these are all in alignment. These are not exhaustive, but the group is worth massaging in your own mind.
10 spiritual disciplines for your leadership
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32)
God’s word changes my thinking, and in changing my thinking, I begin to view others as God intends. Transformation follows.
For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. (Hebrews 4:2)
Faith? Well without it, it is impossible to please God. Faith allows me to move forward with an impactful mindset to lead and shape even when I cannot see the results.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Leadership scares me at times. How do I lead biblically? How do I lead rightly? These thoughts thrust me to dependence upon a God who welcomes my boldly coming to His throne of grace.
He is not a distant God. He is my Father.
Fellowship with the saints
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Our western culture pushes me to independence; the Gospel pushes me to community. The body functions best when all its members are acutely in tune with its other members. In other words, living together in our rhythms of life.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
This is absolutely key to authentic leadership. Read Isaiah 66:2 and find out whom God notices.
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)
As a shepherd of others, I have been challenged in my own soul to model this. As I have been blessed and prospered, so I am to bless and prosper others. And I am finding out it is tremendously gratifying.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. (Titus 2:11-12)
The author of A Gospel Primer makes a good point about obedience –
You know, I can commit this sin, and God’s grace would abound to me all the more as He maintains my justified status…But it is precisely for this reason that I choose not to commit this sin.
My obedience is not just “duty to a master” but rather a genuine response of overflow to a God who did something unthinkable towards me…He initiated love to give me my truest joy which is found in Him.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
As a leader, pursuing anything other than forgiveness severely narrows how I can serve people for what is best for them. A lack of forgiveness unveils an attitude that shows I have low gratitude for how much – unconditionally how much – I was forgiven. Harboring bitterness absolutely removes any possibility of my being able to serve the person with whom I am unforgiving.
To truly lead is so much bigger than our grievances.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:2)
Worship is simply a proper response to viewing God rightly. And when I view God rightly, I will have the capacity to lead people rightly.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Living out the message of reconciliation between God and me and between me and others…truly a miracle. It is worth telling to others as well as living out before others
What a package of 10 these are. Imagine your influence and impact as a leader who led authentically from the framework of these 10 disciplines. Remember that leadership is not just about my getting things done; more importantly, it is about what God is getting done in my life so that my influence moves and shapes ideas and ideals and points others towards the kingdom that will endure forever.