If My people would but listen to Me....
~ Psalms 81:13
God has a specific training ground for leaders. There are three patterns of preparation that have been common among most of God's leaders.
- First, there is a time when the leader is separated from his old life. Consider Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and Paul. In order for God to mold and shape them into His nature, it appears that He had to remove them from the life of comfort. A teacher once said, "You cannot go with God and remain where you are."
- Next, there is usually a time of solitude. God often brings leaders into a time of solitude in order to speak to them without other distractions. Hosea 2:14b says, "I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her." Paul was sent to Arabia for two years for a time of solitude. Joseph spent years in the solitude of prison. Moses spent 40 years in the desert herding sheep.
- The third characteristic of God's preparation for leaders is discomfort. The setting in which the preparation takes place usually is not a place of comfort. Abraham traveled through the difficult deserts. David lived in caves fleeing Saul. Paul was frequently persecuted.
Are you ready for the classroom of leadership preparation? If God chooses to bring you into this class, you may have one of three reactions to the events.
- First, you may say, "I don't need it." Perhaps you know intellectually that you do need this, but God wants you to know it in your heart. Pride prevents us from entering this classroom.
- The second reaction may be, "I'm tired of it." You decide you've had enough. If so, this will disqualify you from leadership.
- Finally, God's desired response from us in this preparation is, "I accept it." To accept it with joy is the place of maturity in Christ. God often keeps us in these places until we come to accept and agree that Jesus is enough. Is He all you need?
Like the people of Israel, I think we have something to do with the timetable of our education. "If My people would but listen to Me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn My hand against their foes!" (Ps. 81:13-14)
Are you ready for the process required for being a godly leader? Ask for His grace to willingly embrace these times of preparation.
~ Os Hillman