** There shall not any man stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. ** Joshua 1:5
These words from the Lord to Joshua were part of an intense leadership training session after Moses’ death. Joshua had big shoes to fill so the Lord gave Joshua the important highlights of what he would have to be dealing with in this first chapter about his leadership. He gave Joshua the necessary tools and now it was up to Joshua to live them out from day to day. He was going to have to take the Lord’s Words and mix them with his experiences with Moses and blend the two into his own confidence of how to bring the Nation of Israel into the Promised Land. An overwhelming task to be sure.
The Bible is a great book on leadership but there are also many other good books that we could read on leadership to deepen our understanding of what leadership is and the challenges that leading brings. Personally, John Maxwell’s books are my favorite. He gives many practical examples of how a leader can deal with the daily challenges he/she encounters when dealing with any people group whether at work or in the church or in our families.
Far above Maxwell’s books though is still the Word of God. After all, God is a perfect leader with perfect wisdom and relationship knowledge. Like here in the Gospel of Matthew…
** And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ** Matthew 16;18
What an amazing verse on leadership!!
God lets Peter know Who is in charge. He clarifies His vision for the future. He lets Peter know that He has a step by step plan of how to build His church. And He tells Peter that the enemy can throw whatever he wants to against His plan, but the Church will be built. And the Lord will still be in charge.
But the day to day of how to make all that happen has definitely had its discouraging moments. The enemy has shown up more times than we would like. He continues to fight against the building of the Lord’s church. Unfortunately, he has a way of using the very ones being lead through the process to cause the greatest challenges. ( Remember Jesus’ disciple?–Judas? )
But discouragement and challenges from those we lead should not push us out of our place as leader or keep us from pushing on to accomplish our vision or our purpose. Judas and his partners probably thought they had defeated Jesus’ plan. We all know that they didn’t. Neither as parents should we relinquish our authority or plan for our families just because our children challenge us. It doesn’t mean we allow them to take over the family, right? Of course not. We just need to keep moving forward and stand our ground.
Neither should we release our leadership position at work or as church leaders just because someone gives us a hard time. It took me awhile to learn this concept. Its tough when someone gets in your face.
But, the Lord made it clear to Joshua, His new leader of the nation of Israel, that NO ONE is going to stand against Joshua and win. The Lord will always have the last word on who is in charge. It doesn’t mean they won’t try. There will always be someone with an opinion of how to do things better. There will always be someone who thinks they deserve to be the leader in our place. There will always be times when someone is in our face.
The thing is, that neither Joshua, nor you and I believe that we deserve to be leaders. It just sort of happened. One day we became Moms. No one deserves to literally be responsible for another’s life. But that is God’s plan. And poof! Now all Moms have to learn how to lead.
At work, the story might be a little different. Our performance may have earned our promotion to team leader or department leader or even CEO. But our performance was just a few skills, not nearly enough skills to now carry the load of leading a whole group of people. We learn as we go. As Moms and as bosses.
Church leadership is even more different than either of the other two examples, but it may be the one that is clearest in showing that being a servant comes before leading. Joshua was Moses’ servant and disciple. Wherever Moses was, Joshua was right there with him. Helping. Learning. Serving.
But watching and helping is different than making all the decisions. Now, the burden became Joshua’s to make every decision as to when to go to battle and when to wait. He had to depend directly on God every day. No more leaning on Moses’ experience. He needed to follow the steps and lean on the promises that the Lord gave him in Chapter 1. The Lord’s advice and promises carried Joshua through to the end of his life.
So, if you are in the middle of a challenge to who you are, why you do what you do, and how you are doing it….just stay focused. Keep working your plan. Keep your vision in front of you. And remember whatever promises the Lord has given you. He DID NOT LIE TO YOU. He is keeping those promises and you will see them come true again and again.
In Joshua’s training session, the Lord gave one main charge to Joshua. Be strong and of good courage.
If you are in the midst of a battle with the enemy, or enemies, no matter how bad it looks….BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE!! Don’t give up! Don’t lie down and quit! Remember what the Lord has taught you, what He has promised you and step out courageously and fight for your family, your job, your church!