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Joshua chapter one helps us to recognise that encouragement is part of God’s plan for our leaders. We all need encouraging from time to time. My husband and I currently have a child to train up, according to Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-8 and Colossians 3:21. As we develop in this area we are becoming more tolerant with the leaders God has placed over us, recognising the challenges they face. However, we continue to have high expectations of them; wanting to see development in the way they treat those God has placed in their care. Despite the challenges they face we also know the reward that comes from effective leadership and want our spiritual leaders to experience this blessing.
Our leaders do, however, need more than just verbal encouragement. There is a craving for knowledge. Leaders want to know what to do in order to be successful and they need the assurance that they will not be left to carry the burden alone. If you are a leader reading this article, I hope that you will be encouraged to move forward into the greatness God is calling you.
One of the main obstacle in the path of a leader is fear. Fear is the spirit that will haunt a leader so it is important to have courage. Courage is a vital component of leadership. A leader may regularly ask questions born out of ‘fear of the unknown’, such as:
Until one sees the fruit of ones labour, there will always be uncertainty regarding the choice one makes. ‘Fear of the unknown’ can sometimes cripple a leader to the point of them refusing to take any risk in moving forward. What they do instead, is choose to conform, sometimes to the detriment of their health and ministry.
To conform is to act in accordance with current customs; choosing to keep things the way they are and always have been, preferring the safer option which brings predictable results. Unfortunately, conformity can hinder growth and when that happens, both leader and followers begin to produce the fruits of conformity. This can include lack of growth or decline. It then triggers discouragement, discontentment, contention, discord and more. Ultimately, this results in a dejected leader and de-motivated followers. It takes courage to ‘come out from among them’—move away from conformity.
A leader must lead by example but he/she cannot conform to the world’s way of thinking and doing then expect results that are pleasing to God. Therefore, I would like to encourage you to be a courageous leader. If you are placed in a caring role (a parent, a youth worker, a teacher or a leader of any ministry within your church or community) you are considered a leader. You may be an older brother or sister in charge of caring for your younger siblings or a relative who has taken over this role, you too are considered a leader. Whatever leadership role you hold, this is a message from your heavenly Father, spoken to the leader Joshua and recorded in the book of Joshua chapter 1verses 7-9 for us today:
“Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book of the law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed. I command you—Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Can you hear God speaking to you through these verses? His word brings comfort today and assurance that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Dare to be different in calling and refuse to conform. Be a courageous leader!
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