There is an often-quoted statement in Christianity that holds so much truth, but I fear the truth it holds is equally as often ignored in the day-to-day lives of most Christians. The statement is:
“Christianity is a relationship; not a religion.”
The intention of this statement is that Christianity was never intended to be a systematic formation of religious practice. This was, in fact, the thing Jesus came to do away with. You see, religion is a set of beliefs and practices directed toward a god or gods in order to gain their favor for both this life and the after-life.
Christianity, on the other hand, is a system of faith which believes that through the perfect, sinless life of Jesus, His death on the cross, and His glorious resurrection, those things which separated us from God and led to His wrath have been overcome, and we do not have to work to gain His favor and blessing. Instead, in Jesus Christ, we are returned to our intended state as friends of God. Therefore, the Christian life is about our ability to have a personal relationship with God.
Here’s the question though. As you are seeking to grow as a leader in the Kingdom of God, how much of your life and leadership is guided by your relationship to the King?
There is a very popular verse about destiny in the book of Jeremiah. It says:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Did you know, however, that this verse about God’s destiny for His people is directly linked to prayer, and intimacy with God? The next two verses say:
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
The conclusion we must come to is that if we want to be the leaders in the Kingdom of God He calls us to be, the journey begins in prayer as we seek Him with our whole hearts.
What are you doing to build your relationship with God?
How much time do you spend in prayer and reading your Bible? (Note to pastors: Reading for sermon preparation doesn’t count here!) Did you know that most of the great heroes of Christianity spent multiple hours a day seeking the Lord’s presence and leading? Here are just a few examples:
Charles Wesley began his day at four in the morning with two hours of prayer.
Martin Luther said: “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have (too) much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.”
Smith Wigglesworth would spend two hours in prayer, then he would go out and do whatever the Holy Spirit directed him to do. When asked about his secret to obtain the power of God, he would always talk about his prayer life and his close relationship with the Holy Spirit.
John Fletcher stained the walls of his room by the breath of his prayers. Sometimes he would spend whole nights in prayer.
Kathryn Kuhlman would spend eight hours in prayer before every service she preached.
John Welch, a famous Scottish preacher, thought the day was wasted if he did not spend eight or ten hours in prayer.
What about you? How important is your relationship with God in your daily affairs? Have you sought the Lord’s guidance for your day and your to-do list? Is seeking God with your whole heart a priority or a luxury?
The truth is, as a leader you will either lead based on what the Lord has shown you in the Word and in prayer, or you will lead simply based on your own abilities and wisdom. Only one of these can be called “Kingdom-focused” leadership.
© 2015 A. Scott Ingram
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