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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Servant leaders develop character in troubled times

by Pam Roth
Romans 5:1 – 5, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”

Have you found yourself saying, “I can’t wait until November gets here?”  Are you tired of the political rhetoric - statements filled with exaggerations, and the confusing campaign ads?  Do you find yourself muting political ads on the television?

Please, don’t misunderstand me, I love being an American and all of the liberties that come with it, but sometimes I feel like saying, “Enough is enough!  Let’s stop playing all of these games…shoot straight, tell the truth, and get down to the business of leading and healing this great country of ours.”

And then, I am gently reminded that I do not need to be fixated on these uncertain political times or any troubled time that may come my way; but, I need to be focused on what the Lord wants to teach me.  Difficult times are a time to grow and build character in our lives.  Often, I will ask myself: “What part do I have in this process?”   “What steps do I need to make to trust God more and not put my trust in a person or a system?”  “What do I truly value?”  “Where is all of this going and will it matter five, ten years from now?”  

My friend, we are encouraged not to lose heart during these troubled times but to realize that these “momentary” problems are developing character in us.  And at the heart of that process is the word – “humility.”  Paul wrote in the book of Philippians, “I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.”  What a great example of humility and a right perspective about our number one priority – being in relationship with Christ and developing his character.

In his book, Intimacy with the Almighty, Chuck Swindoll shares four areas of our lives that need to be surrendered in order to be in a right relationship with Christ.

  • Possessions – what would happen if you lost everything you owned?
  • Positions – how important is your position in life to you?
  • Plans – what happens to you when things don’t go the way you had expected?
  • People – children and relationships with others is a gift, what are you doing to cherish those relationships?
So, don’t get too caught up in the ‘hype’ or the ‘doom and gloom’ as you read the newspaper, watch national television, or catch up on the news regarding Wall Street and the campaign trail.  Instead, remind yourself of these truths.  There is hope…God loves you…He has a plan for your life…He wants to be in relationship with you…He’s patient…He cares about your concerns…He is there to listen…and He has the answer.

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