Disciplines of the Steward Leader: #4 – Affirming the Tension
Is your self-image in balance? As leaders we face persistent temptations and pressures designed to knock us out of balance. Here is an uncomfortable and uncompromising question for you; what drives your self-image? That is, what are the sources that you listen to each day that will ultimately determine the way you see yourself, value yourself and judge yourself? Be brutally honest with yourself and make a list of those driving forces, those influential voices and important opinions. Now ask yourself, how many of these sources are God-pleasing? That is, how many are likely to reflect the true way in which God sees you?
The correlate is perhaps even more important. How many voices, opinions and perceptions are you listening to that are likely to give you false messages and distorted impressions? Put more bluntly, which voices speak God’s truth to you and which are whispering the lies of the enemy?
I am convinced that one primary tactic that is leveled at every Christian leader is the enemy’s work to get us to think more of ourselves or less of ourselves than we ought. He really doesn’t care which it is; left unchecked, both are equally destructive to our souls and our vocations. He is happy for us to be lured away by a sense of spiritual pride, which is the desire to go it alone and belief that we can. He is equally happy for us to be drug down by self-doubt that eats away silently at the foundations of the walls of confidence we erect for the outside world to see. The fear wrought of unchecked self-doubt can become immobilizing.
Whether we find ourselves ‘going our own way’ or ‘not going at all’, the victory belongs to our enemy. What then are we to do? Follow the discipline of the balanced self-image. We need to be stewards of our self-image, which means praying daily, sometimes hourly that we would see ourselves as God sees us.
Scripture speaks of this balance. It tells us that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and that we are ‘jars of clay’. It testifies that we are both holy children of God and sinners in need of daily repentance and grace. It reminds us that with Christ all things are possible yet apart from him we can do nothing. Scripture paints for us the picture of the balanced view.
Right now, as you read these words, is your self-image in balance? If not, how have you wandered from the path? What voices are you listening to and whose opinions are determining your self-perception? Choose right now to be a steward of your self-image by naming the powers and influences that drive you, surrendering all that are not God-pleasing, and praying for a Holy Spirit driven new understanding of who you are in Jesus Christ. With his leading you can return to that balanced perspective from where we can truly be a steward leader.