The Real life of a Servant Leader
5 Minute Read
Why are we sometimes unwilling to face our weaknesses or consider how others think we need to improve when we know the feedback will help us become the best version of ourselves?
Would you believe me if I told you the reason was our pride? And even more: It is our pride that keeps us from becoming great, not our weaknesses.
Do you know that humility is a requirement of anyone that wants to live the life of a servant leader? And James 4:6 from the Bible reminds us that, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
I have found that I must test my heart in this, and one way I do that is to pay attention to how I handle it when people give me feedback or criticism. When I see my first reaction is defensive or angry, I have to ask myself why I reacted that way.
Usually, the answer is my pride. And, that is hard to say – because I don’t want to see myself as prideful, but if I don’t engage it, I will stay there. And, there is too much at stake for me to stall out where I am. Too much on the line for me let my pride keep me from the work that God has called me to do, and the leadership He has chosen for me.
The great thing is that when I do face the truth, that in and of itself is an act of humility, and with humility comes God’s grace. With a soft and teachable spirit, I can take the advice, criticism, even failure if that is the case, and learn from it. It makes me better and moves me closer to the heart of God – which is the whole point of everything.
If we want to journey toward servant leadership, we have to be willing to talk about this issue. Serving people and leading with humility, will be difficult. We do not have it in us to “fix” ourselves, and our own esteem will eventually fail at making us “better” enough that we feel like we are enough.
As leaders, I know that at some point in our careers and lives, we have relied on our own gifts to pave the way. But, I have been alive long enough to know that our self-sufficiency has been failing us from the beginning, and eventually, we will see that; and when we do, it is going to come at a high cost.
Please know that I say these things with great compassion and I know this struggle personally. We act out of pride and anger because we are trying to protect ourselves and what matters most to us because at the core we do not trust anyone else, even God – to come through or to keep us safe.
Maybe you will recognize yourself in some of the things that we do when we are fearful: We become self-protective, we hide both at home and at work, we find it hard to be fully honest, or fully present. We isolate and live like we don’t need anyone. We use our positions to hide, we withhold information, we lie, we intimidate others. When we are fearful we become control freaks, we lift ourselves up, we promote ourselves, we spin the truth to make ourselves look more favorable, we talk over others and demand attention or respect, and we do all of this to protect ourselves.
Can I remind you of the best news? When we respond to who God is, His love, His authority, His goodness, His right – we are safe and learning to live and lead like it is true will absolutely transform our hearts and our lives. The deep truth is that our self-worth is from God; and He defines who we are, and He never lies. It is in Him that we will find life and value and purpose – and He came to give it to the full! John 10:10
Trying to be good enough without God is pride, it’s worshipping a lesser God, it’s living a lesser life. When God looks at us He sees the perfect sacrifice of Jesus; He does not see all of our mess-ups and shortcomings. He sees His child; healed, forgiven, deeply loved, and chosen.
It takes great courage to believe that Jesus is our salvation, our worth, our answer, our power, our significance, and our security. But He is all of that and more and we don’t have to live in fear. He came to set us free! (2 Timothy 1:7) (Galatians 5:1)
We were made for more than this. Many of us have functioned so long with fear hanging over us that we don’t ever find out what we were made for, we just survive another day. Take the time to face this because believing what God says will bring you life-changing freedom over fear, and lead you to become the servant leader He created you to be.
President / Author
Randy has a passion to focus his energy on helping men rediscover their “why” or mission. When that passion becomes the central focus of a man’s life it will bring out passion for God, unveil the calling on a person’s life, and show people how to lead others away from their lack of direction and destructive “busyness.” There are two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Randy helps men develop and execute a personal mission that will inspire!
Finish Well 5 Minute ReadEvery now and again, you run into some teaching that you can’t let go of. This was true for me a few months ago when I heard a message from Dr. John Maxwell. His topic was “A Leader Who Finishes Well.” I appreciated the message and loved the...
We are in a Christian culture that is afraid to say that we want to be great, and I get it. We hear several messages and lessons each year revisiting the idea of pride. However, I think somehow in our effort to pursue humility, we have confused the definition of great with arrogance; and I think we have lost something powerful in the process. We have sacrificed the wrong things in an effort to keep pride out of our churches and organizations.