"The cross sounds wonderfully magnificent and heroic as long as we only have to preach about it. It’s doing it that is the hard part. But God has called us to lead, not just to tell..."
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) Jesus said His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Consequently, His kingdom works by different rules. This is especially evident concerning the idea of leadership. There is a vast difference between what this world calls leadership and what God calls it. When this world thinks of leadership it thinks of power, control, influence, intelligence, and such. When this world thinks of good leaders it looks for people with these traits. Not so with God. He typically looks for the exact opposite. He has actually declared that not many “wise”, not many “mighty”, not many “noble” are called (1 Corinthians 1:26). It’s not impossible for God to work with “wise, mighty, and noble” men for with God all things are possible; it is just that God does not work with men who still think that these things mean something. The tragic truth is that men who often possess these traits will refuse to give them up to be used by the Spirit; instead they attempt to do the work of God in the power of their flesh. At best this accomplishes nothing. At worst it can actually cause destruction and pain to others. This is why not many of such are called. Jesus said “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Do you see it? Even in His death Jesus was still leading! He was in control at all times. Divine, heavenly, unhindered control; yet He still went the way of the cross, ridicule, and scorn. God help us see it! To this He said “follow me”. In other words He was going first to lead the way. We couldn’t follow after Him if He had not gone first. Bless God! The Cross was intentional. Calvary was not the result of powerful wicked men exerting their will upon some helpless Christ! A thousand times NO! Calvary was the Almighty God exerting His will to accomplish His purpose; and God’s power was so great that all the devils in hell teamed up with all the people of this world couldn’t stop it. That is power. That is leadership divine! While it would seem to the on-looking world as if the Lord was no leader at all He was actually leading the whole time with every step, with every word, with every last drop of blood that fell to the ground. I say it again: there is a vast difference between what this world defines as leadership and how God defines it. Being a leader means exactly that. Going first. This is what Jesus did. Then He said “come after me… follow me”. Our problem is we don’t really want to lead if it means the cross. We’d rather not be humbled; especially in front of those whom we are supposedly "over." The cross sounds wonderfully magnificent and heroic as long as we only have to preach about it. It’s doing it that is the hard part. But God has called us to lead, not just to tell. God has called us to give an example that people might follow. How can we teach others about loving our enemies if we have no fruit of doing the same in our own lives? Do we fail here? How can we teach others to let go of bitterness, to have hatred towards no one, to be pure in heart, etc. if we haven’t anyway of showing them first our example? Do you know what this means? It means that God must create opportunities for us to display what humbleness looks like. It means that we will have to be a living example of what forgiving those who wrong us looks like in action. So that we too can say “follow after me”. It means that God will create opportunities for us to show others what laying down our “rights” looks like. And until we have done so we are in no place to tell anyone to follow us at all. This laying down of our rights, our pride, our ego, and our very lives is the exact opposite of what this world calls leadership. Don’t let that fool you. It is exactly what real God-given authority looks like in action. It is exactly what God commands of us. We can’t let the flesh cause us to become embarrassed and to retreat to the old way of business. We must lay down and lead. Though a blinded world may see it as weakness; in reality it is the most powerful, holy, perfect leading this world has ever witnessed. This is the leadership of God. This is Christ in us. This is power balanced with humility. Anything else will not suffice. We must lead.