As I have grown as a leader, God blesses me with favor through the many things He has entrusted to me. His blessings aside, I find that remnants of childhood insecurities lead me to doubt Him. I am aware of a need to prove myself worthy, capable, approved. Rather than allowing Him to name and approve me, I find myself still grasping for the approval of man.
I was recently in the midst of teaching before approximately 150 people when I realized that my zipper was down. Horrified, I tried as well as I could to go on without drawing further attention to myself. The music stand I was using as a podium provided little to hide behind, so I stammered on, aware that the audience was as embarrassed for me as I was for myself. I segued into a break and ran off to repair the malfunction only to discover that I had imagined the whole ordeal. I had actually been properly dressed the entire time!
He mercifully exposed my sin. “The authority I have given you is often distracted by your own self-concern. You are preoccupied with your image, which veils my intention for that image.” His words allowed me to see how the idol of my self-concern diminishes my real authority. That concern involves how people perceive me.
With the help of friends, I renounced the idol of myself; I am seeking anew to make more room for genuine worship of the One, taking my eyes off myself. In this right perspective, He is free to work through me: revealing His presence, His strength, His love.
I saw this worked out in the context of our recent leadership training. It is a hard call: God is asking me to lead our team of seasoned leaders while raising up a new generation of leaders. In that, I am likely to question my authority in a vain effort to prove myself qualified. My past experiences were limited by this self-concern. This time, however, I stood repentant and clear, and was able to give Him His rightful place.
I took a decisive stand to worship Him. In right posture before Him, His authority was unleashed more fully and His purposes were fulfilled. I was able to say the hard word when needed, without fear of how it would be received. I was able to enter into the blessings he had purposed through me. How quickly His Spirit shows up when I get out of the way.
The thought patterns of my childhood make it necessary to practice His presence and not my own. I must turn from my tendency to doubt or minimize my authority and to faithfully do His will in my work. When necessary, I confess my need for man’s favor above His favor, receive forgiveness, and ask Him to guide me afresh.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish things behind me.” (1Cor. 13:11)