Friday, August 20, 2010

Leadership Sessions: Righteousness, Wisdom, and Integrity

Prayer: "God cover us with Your Righteousness, give us Your Wisdom, and help us to walk in integrity. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who is our righteousness, who is the Wisdom of God, and who empowers us to walk in integrity by His Holy Spirit. Amen!"

Recently I sought God for help with my leadership. I was caught off guard when God spoke. I know that we should not be surprised that God speaks when we seek Him, but often we are indeed surprised, and I was. God’s word promises us that if we lack wisdom that we should ask God to give us His wisdom and God will give it to us (James 1:5). So with this scripture promise in mind, I prayed that God would give me His wisdom on leadership, and God led me to Proverbs 10. I read it and three things stood out to me: righteousness, wisdom, and integrity. A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Righteousness, a leader seeks out and walks in God’s Wisdom, and a leader walks in integrity by God's Holy Spirit.

A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Righteousness.

“Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death. The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish, but He casts away the desire of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:2-3

“The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:11

“The labor of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin.” – Proverbs 10:16

“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” – Proverbs 10:21

When reading Proverbs 10, it became clear that righteousness is important and it comes up over and over again. The more I thought and reflected on what it means to be righteous, the more evident it became of just how unrighteous and sinful I am. The verse from Romans 3:10 came to mind, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” If a leader is to be righteous, and there is no one with righteousness of their own, then how does a leader walk in righteousness? The next prayer I prayed was “Help me lord to be righteous.” Then this verse came to mind from Romans 5:19: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” I continued, “Lord, give me your righteousness and help me to walk in it.” We do not have any righteousness of our own, but we are called to be righteous. If we are going to live and lead in righteousness we must yield to Christ as it says in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”

A leader seeks out and walks in God’s Wisdom.

“A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.” – Proverbs 10:1

“The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.” – Proverbs 10:8

“The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.” – Proverbs 10:21

Proverbs 10 speaks volumes of the importance of wisdom. A good leader is a wise leader and wisdom is found in God and His word. When I was at my wit’s end and needed a fresh word from God on leadership, He met me there. I needed wisdom, and God gave it to me, when I sought Him out. I love what Dallas Willard says about finding God. He says, “I have found the address of God, it is at the end of my rope.” We do not have all we need on our own, but with God and His word, we have His knowledge and His wisdom. Again, scripture says that if we ask it will be given unto us, if we seek, we shall find, and if we knock, the door is opened to us (Matthew 7:7-11). God’s word encourages us to seek wisdom and promises it will be given to us (James 1:5). Scripture says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).” I cannot think of a better source for wise counsel than God, the author of wisdom Himself. If we are going to be good leaders, we must seek out and walk in God’s wisdom.

A leader is empowered to walk in Integrity by God’s Holy Spirit.

“He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” – Proverbs 10:9

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Proverbs 11:3

Integrity is important in leadership. Good leaders have excellent integrity, and there is integrity in being who you know God has called you to be. When we walk in God’s righteousness and seek his wisdom we are able to see more clearly how we are to walk in Him for God’s glory, and to God’s glory. Integrity is honesty and truth. Integrity speaks to being complete and whole and it speaks to walking in firm adherence to your values, standards, and beliefs, which should align with God’s word. When we are following Jesus in our leadership, we can be confident that we are walking in God’s integrity. Again, this is nothing that we can do on our own. We must rely on God’s Holy Spirit to give us the fruits of His Spirit (see Galatians 5:15-26). Paul tells us in Galatians that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Paul also says in Philippians 4:13 that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” If we are to be leaders of integrity we must be empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to walk in integrity.

Would we be clothed with God’s Righteousness, walk in the wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, and walk in integrity in Him by His Holy Spirit, fulfilling the words of Paul, from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, in our leadership: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”

Seeking to be led by Jesus in leadership,



The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your God is Not Big Enough

I was one of three guys in a sea of women at a packed theatre last night for the opening of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Not that there is anything wrong with being one of a few guys in a sea of women, I just felt a little out of place . . . The movie was as bad as I thought it would be, but unraveled a lot of what I have been thinking about lately concerning idolatry, worship, and God. There was a quote in the movie that was pivotal for me in illustrating one of our greatest obstacles to our understanding of God. Here it goes: “God dwells within you as you yourself, exactly the way you are” (p. 192). In other words, God is like you. This is basically saying, “You are God.” This is simply and profoundly false!

In the book “Eat, Pray, Love” this idea is expressed this way, “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace” (p 122). Is the author saying that this “supreme Self,” is God?! Is this god, little “g,” that dwells within us ourselves?! Nothing could be further from the truth; however, I believe that many people think this way. Many think they are looking at God, but in fact they are looking at and to themselves. If this is true that God is our “supreme Self,” then god is no bigger than our selves, illustrating the saying, “God has created humankind in His own image and we have returned the favor.” This sin is as old as Adam and Eve in the garden, and their wanting to be like God at the fall of humanity (see Genesis 1-3).

I have noticed among the youth and college students that I work with that there is boredom with God. It is my suspicion that this boredom is no boredom with the one true God at all. This boredom is with a lesser God, a self made and self resembling idol. If it is God that we are worshiping and following, we will not be bored at all. To paraphrase a quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said, "If you comprehend God he is not God.” If you are bored with God, this is not God that you are dealing with at all. As it sits, it looks like most of the boredom that is being experienced with God comes from the same idol worship of a self made, self resembling, little god idol, as illustrated in the above quote from “Eat, Pray, Love,” “God dwells within you as you yourself. . .” So in effect, we are not bored with God, we are bored with ourselves and our idols because we have made “gods” of ourselves and other lesser things.

Our gods are too small. J.I. Packer, in his book “Knowing God,” says that most of us are “pygmy Christians,” because we serve a pygmy God. A pygmy is something that is weak, diminished in size, of lesser intelligence, or miniature. In other words, Packer is saying that our gods are too small. If we have a lesser god, are trying to add something to God, or subtract something from God, this is not the one true God at all, but a portion of God, a reduced version of God, a made up God, or manufactured God, or simply put, we have an idol.

John Stott commented on this by asserting that “Nothing is more important for mature Christian discipleship than a fresh, clear, true vision of the authentic Jesus." A.W. Tozer, in “The Knowledge of the Holy,” states that “The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be unworthy of thinking, worshipping men.” He goes on to say that “With our loss of the sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and consciousness of the Divine Presence.”

If we want to not be bored with God, we must get to know the true God and get beyond our own “spiritual narcissism,” as John Stott puts it. We are not God. It has been said, “There is a God. You are not Him.” Dallas Willard said it this way, “I have found the address of God; it is at the end of my rope.” To say it another way, if you want to get to know God, you must get beyond your limited self. Tozer puts it this way at the end of “Knowledge of the Holy,” “God is a Person and can be known in increasing degrees of intimate acquaintance as we prepare our hearts for the wonder. It may be necessary for us to alter our former beliefs about God as the Glory that guilds the Sacred Scriptures dawns over our interior lives.” We must drop our petty views of a “lesser god” to catch a glimpse of the one true God. We must rise above our self imposed presuppositions and projections of who God is for a clearer more biblical view of God. As Stott says, quoting Jerome, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Tozer, in his book “And He Dwelt Among us,” asserts “No Religion ever rises higher than its concept of God.” This sheds light on one of the more popular quotes from Tozer, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” If we are to grow in our relationship with God we must get beyond ourselves and begin to think rightly about God. If we are to grow in our faith and not just grow weary in boredom, our view of God must be a larger vista form a higher mountain. As the Psalmist says, in Psalm 61:1-2, “Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. . . Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Our concept of God must be a concept of God and not just a loftier exaltation of ourselves. It is then that we will find ourselves in worship and in awe.

May we come to know Jesus, and become more like Him as we see Him as he truly is as John says, “When He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”



Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat Pray Love. Penguin Group Publishing USA. New York, NY. © 2006, accessed August 14, 2010

The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Ps 61:1-2

Packer, J.I. Knowing God, 20th Anniversary ed. Downers Grove, Ill. Intervarsity Press, © 1993, p. 12.

Stott, John R.W. The Radical Disciple. Intervarsity Press. Downers Grove IL. © 2010

Tozer, A.W. And He Dwelt Among Us. Gospel Light Publishing. Ventura, CA. © 2009

Tozer, A.W. Man: The Dwelling Place of God. Wing Spread Publishing. Camp Hill, PA. © 1966, 1997

Tozer, A.W. The Knowledge of the Holy. Harper Collins Publishers. HarperSanFrancisco. © 1961