Last night at a website I watched part one of a three part interview that Oprah Winfrey did yesterday with Sarah Palin. The thing that struck me the most about Sarah’s interview was what she said about how Team McCain handled her. These “advisers” and “consultants” all seemed to know what was best for Sarah; they kept telling her to keep on message. She said she never really knew what the message was.

It seems in the political arena today that Madison Avenue has more bearing on our candidates than does Main Street. The message writers and handlers tend to carry more authority than do the candidates. As I was thinking about that I remembered the first chapter of a powerful little book titled The Leadership Lessons of Jesus by Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard.

The first chapter is titled “Who Speaks for You? It starts out:

    “Who speaks for you? Who talks about you? What do they say?”

The book then goes on to talk about Jesus’ “advance man”, John the Baptist. John Mark reminds us about this great messenger:

    “And he preached, saying, ‘There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” (Mark 1:7-8)

The late Bob Briner was an effective Christian leader and one of those reasons was he knew who he was in Christ. He tells the story of how a friend approached another friend and said, “I have put out the fleece for you and here is what you need to do.” The other friend told him, “Hey, thanks, but I will put out my own fleece.”

The authors then write the following words of wisdom:

    “Never let someone else determine God’s will for your life. No one else can understand God’s unique call on your life as clearly as you. So many wasted years trying in vain to please others when they would be far more productive living as God designed them to live. This doesn’t mean we go off half-cocked or without advice, but in the end, as Romans 14 says, each one of us must face God individually.”

Too many would be advisers, consultants, and public relations managers are busy trying to mold their leader into their image of who he or she should be. Therein lies the problem; most “hired guns”, particularly in the political realm, do not consider who they work for as their leader; he or she is their client. Not so with John the Baptist:

    “After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. For John had not yet been thrown into prison. Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!’ John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, “I am not the Christ,” but, “I have been sent before Him.” He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.’” (John 3-22-30)

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Those are some tough and humble words. Tough to say; impossible to say without a large does of humility.

Dear Christian, for whom do you speak? Do you speak for you or do you speak for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is your life a herald and testimony of the transforming power of the Indwelling Holy Spirit that you received at conversion, or are you no different than a lost person? You love those who love you; you hate those who hate you. In fact the only difference between you and a lost person is that you go to church and claim to be a Christian.

Are you always shining the spotlight on you or giving kudos to those around you?

Are you always seeking encouragement from others or are you an encouragement to others?

Are you always trying to get a seat at the king’s table or do you wait to be invited?

What if someone testified about your walk with Christ in a court of law? Would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian or would you be put to shame and found not guilty of being a follower of Jesus?

    “Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of the great; for it is better that he say to you, ‘Come up here’, than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen. Do not go hastily to court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame?” (Proverbs 25:6-8)

The temptation to exalt oneself is always great. I believe my “thorn in my side” is my pride. It is a daily struggle to remain humble, to remember not to seek my own honor. That’s why reading the Proverbs daily is so important:

    “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)

As I go throughout my day today and tomorrow and as long as I am on this earth, I pray for myself that I remember the words of Matthew Henry that he wrote about John the Baptist:

    “John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honor and influence, for of His government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; He had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets had, but in all fullness.”

“Jesus, help me, a sinful, mortal man, to always be fully satisfied with the place and work you have assigned me. In your name I pray. Amen.”

In Christ
Ps. 37:4

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    Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers


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