The Psalmist writes, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word” (119:9). Seeking God’s Word takes many forms in life depending on circumstances, the physical and emotional conditions of the one seeking, and stage of life, to name a few. But none of these reduce or constrain the need to seek God first in all we do. This is no less true for leaders in the church, business, education, government, and family.
There is a war against evil progressing every day. We must seek God’s Word every day and put on the whole armor of God. Paul tells us that our battle is not against creatures (flesh and blood) of this world but against the principalities of this world, aka, satan (Ephesians 6:12). But we take heart in that our weapons are also not of this world and that when our obedience is fulfilled, those weapons are released to us to defeat these principalities (2 Corinthians 10: 4-6). Wait a minute! Do I have to do something to avail myself of this weaponry? Yes, obey; fulfill your obedience.
In our various leadership roles, we should seek God’s intentions for our time as steward leaders on this side of heaven (Rodin, 2010). Personally, this leads me back to Jesus and the sermon on the mount. Throughout His ministry, Christ told His disciples that the first will be last and the last first, those seeking to save their life will lose it, and those who lose it will find it, and imploring us not to think so highly of ourselves that we seek the best seat at the head of the table. This is all a lesson in humility.
Humility is why Christ started the sermon on the mount with a “be attitude” about those recognizing we are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). Poor in spirit means that we see and acknowledge our position, without Christ as the head, is untenable. We are incapable of accomplishment, true accomplishment, without Christ. And our position is so low that we know we cannot reach Him except that He reaches out to us. What a joyous dependence that is, with a blessing/promise from God, “for theirs is the Kingdom of God.” But first, we obey and recognize that we are poor in spirit without Christ.
This recognition of our position with Christ should naturally lead to a heart-wrenching mourning. This is precisely the second attitude where we are told that those who mourn will be comforted. Once we recognize our desperate condition without Christ, we mourn for ourselves and others in that same condition. But God hears and feels our mourning and reaches us through Christ. When we accept that gift, we are comforted. Yet again, it starts with our obedience of realizing we are poor in spirit and mourning that condition. In other words, we humble ourselves before God.
This obedience brings me back to the spiritual battles we fight daily as leaders. To be effective, we have to depend on God. Whatever leadership role we function in, we will fight against demonic powers. Therefore, James tells us to first “submit to God” (James 4:7). The word submit is a compound Greek word, hupotasso. Hupo means under or through, such as utilizing something to work through a situation or from under or operating under another authority. Tasso means to arrange in an orderly manner. Therefore, the word means to work or arrange your work from under God’s authority or through God’s authority. This authority was given to Christ, who passed it to us to continue the Father’s work (Matthew 28:18-20; 11:27; John 17:7).
After we submit to God, we are to, and can now, resist the devil, and he will flee from us. But first, remember to submit yourself to God, be humble, recognize your position, and rest wholly on the power and authority of Christ. Be mournful of that position, but not paralyzed in that mourning. Do not lean on your own understanding or strength. You have none without Christ.
What does that practically look like for a steward leader? You accept your role in whatever organization as being from God. You obey Christ’s teaching of putting others first and being humbled in your position. Submit your plans to God and resist the evil the culture or organization may foist upon you. Constantly keep your focus on Christ and do the right thing. Do not divert to the right or the left; stay on God’s track.
Rodin. R. S. (2010).The steward leader; Transforming people, organizations, and communities. InterVarsity Press.