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Category Archives: Victorious Living!
God is committed to our transformation. In fact, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
In my previous post we saw that God shoulders the lion’s share of responsibility to transform us, however, there are things we can do to help expedite our transformation.
“God is obligated to fulfill His promise of transformation,
He is not obligated to fulfill your potential.”
God has given us the ability to be transformed into His image. He has given us the “Down Payment of the Holy Spirit” to guide us and Jesus Christ as the model for us to follow. God has given us everything needed to be conformed to His image and yet, how far we get in the transformation process is greatly dependent on our cooperation with His plan and purpose.
Two things we must make routine for healthy cooperation and consistent growth are daily intake and exposure to the Word of God and beholding His glory.
#1) Renew our minds to the written Word of God.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The mind is the battlefield in the fight for the Kingdom. The Mind of Christ is found in His Word. If we say we love God and don’t love His Word, we are deceived. The way we think, the way we perceive things, the way we see people, are all affected by our understanding of God’s Word. To gain a heavenly perspective requires daily exposure and intake of the Word of God.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Notice it says, “as newborn infants, long for the spiritual milk.” No matter where we are in our spiritual development, we should have a hunger and longing for the Word like an infant craving milk it needs to grow. It’s not saying only babies need the milk, its saying that we ALL should desire the Word and depend on it like a newborn babe depends on milk. It is that critical for our spiritual growth and development.
#2) Being doers of the Word
Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
In verse 16 it says, “when we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed.” What does it mean to “turn to the Lord?” Turning has to do with repentance, turning from old, carnal thinking to a new and living way! It is only after the action of turning (repentance) that the veil is removed, and we are able to see His Glory
What is His Glory? Any made known, made seen attribute of Christ is the glory of God revealed. Healing, the fruits of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, revelation in His word, these are all the glory of God revealed. We receive Christ (the Word made Flesh) by acting on the Word that we know. If we simply read the Word academically, instead of letting it speak to us, correct us, and shape us, we forget who we are. We forget that we are a blood bought child of the Living God with a new nature, a new purpose, a new destiny!
Beholding His Glory Is directly connected to being a doer of His Word. Without being a “doer” of the Word, our capacity to see and understand truth is compromised. It takes obedience to the Word to behold His Glory. Without obedience to the Word, we forget who we are and see with the carnal eyes of the old man with his fallen nature.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Blessings and transformation are promised to those who are doers of the Word.
The Skill of Delegation
As the ministry grows the necessity of delegation grows as well. The need for delegation arises when we reach our natural and spiritual limitations. When a ministry becomes more complex, a point is reached where the leader is no longer able to cope with every aspect of the ministry on their own, realizing that neither time nor their own efforts are adequate to meet the needs of the people they are leading. Before this point is reached a plan for delegation should already be in place.
The inability or unwillingness to delegate to others can stall ministry growth and produce burnout in the senior leaders. This is a common mistake that small ministries make and many times it is the reason they stay small.
A great analogy for delegation is, “the ability to score without touching the ball.” Learning to accomplish things through others involves the skill of delegation and it is an imperative part of effective leadership.
The Art of Delegation begins with self-awareness and an honest assessment of our own limitations. Identifying the areas where we are weak will help us target the right people with the right graces and abilities to compliment the ministry. No one likes to admit they have areas of weakness, but the reality is we all have them.
An honest self-assessment can be difficult and usually requires the input and feedback of other leaders and peers. If you are married, your spouse can be a huge asset in this department. The point is, don’t just trust your own point of view because your perspective can often be filled with blind spots. We all have blind spots and we need others to help us see from a broader point of view. The need for delegation is often a blind spot with many leaders.
In Exodus 18 we see a powerful example of the need to delegate. When Moses was leading the children of Israel he came to a point where Jethro, his father-in-law, had to point out his need to delegate responsibilities. Moses was sincere, but the need to delegate was his blind spot.
Exodus 18:13-23 And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?”
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. 21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”
Bearing the burden of ministry yourself is never God’s plan. As individuals we are not capable, even with God’s help, to fulfill all He has called us to do. We are called to community and relationships. Every part of the body has a role to play, a function and purpose that will help edify the body as a whole.
Every leader must come to the realization that he needs to surround himself with solid relationships that he can share the load of ministry with. This is the only way to fulfill God’s plan.
There is a powerful truth in Ephesians 4 that will help us understand this.
Ephesians 4:16 – From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Notice in this passage that supply comes from the joints in the body, not the parts of the body.
A joint is where two parts meet together, like your elbow or knee. It is the RELATIONSHIP between the parts.
A healthy joint causes both parts to be more effective, more mobile, and increases the ability and strength of both connected parts. It is no coincidence that Jesus used this analogy. If you have ever had an injured joint like an ankle, knee, elbow, or wrist, you know how debilitating and restricting it can be.
It is the relationships between the parts that bring the needed supply for ministry growth. If relationships are healthy, every part in place effectively working and doing its share, growth and edification in love is the result.
This is why it is so important to be deliberate and intentional about who you delegate to. Maintaining a healthy relationship with those to whom you delegate is essential for success.
Some Guidelines for delegation:
- Delegate early.
Make an effort to delegate responsibilities early to avoid unnecessary pressure. This avoids undo stress on the leader and sets up the person you are delegating to for success. Waiting until things get to the point of neglect makes it difficult on everyone involved.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” ~ John C. Maxwell ~
- Select the right person.
Ensure that the person has the character to represent the ministry and the time to take on the responsibility. Before sending them out to tackle the new responsibility, make sure the person has all the training and resources needed to succeed.
“Delegate to people who are better than you and let them do the work. Look for people who will aim for excellence and not settle for anything less than the remarkable.”
- Set clear goals and expectations.
Be clear and specific on what is expected. Give information on what, why, when, who and where, but leave the “how” to them. Don’t be too concerned about how it gets done, but that it gets done right and on time. Confirm and verify goals and expectations on a regular basis and get updates on progress. This gives you an opportunity to give needed feedback and encouragement.
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ~ George S. Patton ~
- Delegate authority with responsibility.
Giving people the authority to make certain decisions, use their own creativity, and even recruit others to help accomplish the task allows the person to take ownership of the responsibility and shows that you value their opinions and trust their judgement. This helps maintain a healthy relationship and grooms them for leadership.
It is frustrating to be given a task and no authority to make decisions on how it gets done. Micro-managing every task you delegate will run people off and prevent you from building a strong leadership team. The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling while they do it.
“When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.” ~ Craig Groeschel ~ Founder of Life Church
- Evaluate and recognize performance.
Evaluate results more than methods. Celebrate the wins and give credit where credit is due. Analyze the cause of any insufficient performance but don’t be too quick to take a project back. Rather, continue to work with the person and ensure they understand the project to be their responsibility. Give advice on ways to improve and be willing to be a resource yourself. This sends a message that you believe in them and that you want them to succeed. This approach inspires people and ensures dependability.
“No Leader will build a great ministry that wants to do it all themselves or take all the credit.” ~ Andrew Carnegie ~
Delegation is one of the most essential requirements for a successful ministry. It is the key to fulfilling God’s vision with excellence and provides an opportunity for others to develop their skills and abilities, gaining enough competence to fill higher positions in case of need.
Every person we lead has amazing, God given gifts and talents. Delegation is a great way for people to function and develop in their gifts. This promotes growth in the individual and brings healthy challenges that stretch their faith and empowers them for Kingdom use.
“The greatest leaders are those who empower others.”
Question: What are two reasons that delegation is important?
Question: Why is self-awareness important when delegating responsibilities?
Question: What are two areas you are weak in?
Question: Can you name three guidelines for delegation?
Question: What was Moses “blind spot” in Exodus 18?
I look in the mirror and what do I see?
The answer is always illusive to me.
I see all my failures and mistakes that I made,
And then I remember the price Jesus paid.
My sin He has covered and though it seems strange,
He died on the cross for a wondrous exchange.
My sins He did bear when I had naught to give,
He then made me righteous that through Him I’d live.
My struggle to see past the person I’ve been
Is now a good fight that I know I can win.
He’s done all the work, this I perceive,
Now all that is left is for me to believe.
One of the hardest things we will ever do in our prayer life is …NOTHING! Ok, nothing isn’t quite the word we are looking for. Silent Waiting is a better way to say it.
Waiting in silence, expecting God to reveal Himself to us, is a powerful and fruitful endeavor. Quietly meditating on who He is and what He has spoken to us in His word or by His Spirit is an amazing exercise of our faith and is very pleasing to our Father.
Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
The Good Shepherd, by the Holy Spirit, is always trying to lead us to a place of peace and stillness. It is a place of refreshing and restoration. It is a place to find direction and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Waiting on God renews our strength.
The practice of silent meditation upon God and His word fills up our spiritual gas tanks and empowers us to run well.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
It is in the Stillness that God is known. Reading God’s word and listening to preaching and teaching helps us to know about God, but spending time in His presence is what we need to actually know Him intimately. God is raising up a people in this generation that will live life from the outflow of His presence, rather than merely living by the principles in His word.
“In our stillness before Him, He prepares us to host His presence.”
Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
“Silently waiting on God anchors our soul.”
When life throws us a curve ball, when things get tough and it seems like we are pressed on every side with problems, difficulties and even attacks of the enemy. Silently waiting on God and thinking about His goodness, His greatness, His faithfulness and His amazing love for us gives us strength to stand in faith and trust in His tender mercies and his power to deliver us out of all our troubles.
Isaiah 30:15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,
Quietness and stillness should be practiced individually and corporately to keep us from trusting in the world and its systems. The Lord is speaking through Isaiah a strong word of correction to His people for trusting in Egypt for their strength and salvation instead of Him. Unfortunately, they would not have it.
In this age of distractions and constant movement it is vitally important that we practice stillness in God’s presence.
“Peace is the frequency of God. We must tune in to this channel of stillness to hear the still small voice of the Spirit.”
What kind of tree am I anyway?
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
This is an amazing formula for faith, and a great example of the faith principle in Romans 4 of “calling things that are not as though they were.”
Romans 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
The quotation in Romans 4:17 refers to Genesis 17:5. God spoke this over Abram when He was 99 years old and childless. At the same time God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. In changing the names, God forced them to say the same thing about themselves that He had just said about them. Abraham means, (“Father of a multitude,” Sarah means, “Mother of nations.”) In the name change, God was showing Abraham and all who would follow after him, the principle of faith that God Himself operates by. He speaks things into existence.
Let’s apply this to the good and bad tree.
If you see a tree that has apples and avocados growing on it, what would you call it? An apple tree? An avocado tree? A hybrid? Would you just make up a name? The truth is, you wouldn’t know what to call it.
The Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord.”
When we look at ourselves and behold the fruit of our lives, we see our mistakes, our bad habits, our inconsistencies, our failures, our secret sins, and we think “I must be a bad tree.” But then we look closer and say, “Wait a minute, not all the fruit in my life is bad. I help people, I am faithful to my church family, I serve in different areas in the ministry, I love people, I am generous with my time and resources, so not all the fruit in my life is bad. I am confused! What kind of tree am I?”
We see the good and bad fruit in our lives and gravitate towards walking by sight and living by feelings. The Bible says that we are NOT to live our lives this way.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
We cannot allow our physical senses to dictate our identity. We must set ourselves in agreement with what God has spoken about us and not be moved by our feelings and our fallen experience. What we see, feel and experience must never be a consideration in light of what God has said about us. Abraham, the father of faith, has set the example for us.
Romans 4:19-22 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
Abraham refused to consider the weakness in his flesh, but was fully convinced that what God said about him, God would bring to pass.
So the question is: What has God said about us?
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.
God says that He has made us righteous, holy, blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Although we may not look like that in our sight we must not consider what we see and believe what He said about us is true.
How we refer to ourselves, the words we say about ourselves should align in agreement with what God says about us. When we begin to speak what God says about us, the grace of God is released in our lives to transform us into what He has spoken. When we align our words with His words, the fruit of what He said will start growing in our life. This is how we make our tree good. This is how we fight the good fight of faith. This is what produces transformation in our life.
The Old Testament is full of stories about natural battles. We must look at those physical battles and learn how to apply them spiritually to our lives. For the most part, we see two ways that God calls his people to battle.
- He gives His people specific instruction on what, when and how to conquer the enemy. When Gods people follow the instruction, He is with them in battle and the victory comes easy.
- He tells His people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He fights the battle for us and the victory is ours.
When fighting to be free from our sin nature, to live righteous and holy, we tend to try and do this by our own works. We struggle against our sin, our bad habits, wrong thinking and destructive cycles of failure and disappointment. This type of behavior will only produce a sin consciousness that insures failure. The Old Testament has already proved that no one can become righteous by works.
Submitting to the authority of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us places us in a powerful position to be transformed and overcome the sin nature. We must call ourselves righteous and holy, believing that He is at work in us to bring that to pass. We follow Abraham’s example and call things that are not manifest as though they were.
Confess that you are righteous, confess that you are holy. Thank God for freeing you from sin and transforming you into His image. And if you stumble and fall, run to God and say “I am sorry Father that is not me! That is certainly not You in me! I thank You for the Spirit of grace that is transforming me and shaping me into Your image, removing that junk from my life and molding me into everything You have created me to be. Thank You for fathering me! Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for being patient with me. Thank you for completing the work that you began in me. Where would I be if You didn’t father me.”
This is a good example of biblical confession. This type of confession sets you in agreement with His work and His plan for your life. This will produce the fruit of righteousness and holiness in your life.
In the battle for our identity we are supposed to follow the example of our father Abraham and set ourselves in agreement with His word, letting the Spirit of grace shape us and mold us into His image. We are not to consider the weakness of our flesh, but stand strong in faith, trusting that God is able to bring His word to pass in our lives.
So hold fast to the confession of who you are in Him and trust that He will complete the work that he began in your life.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.