It is my conviction that all of a Christian’s life is meant to be shaped by the gospel and by the theology of the Bible. But how does our doctrine shape the way we lead? For leadership don’t we have to read the latest leadership books and leave the Bible on the shelf? Well this week I am looking at how our doctrine shapes the way we lead. Yesterday we saw how the God’s sovereignty shapes our leadership and now we look at the doctrine of adoption.
In his amazing book, Knowing God, J.I Packer describes adoption like this:
In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater. – J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 206
What a comforting truth to be loved by God the father and considered to be his child!
But let’s get practical, how does knowing this doctrine help us lead? I think in two ways:
As a leader it is very easy to find our identity shaped by being a leader or feeling great about the thing we lead. The opposite is also true, it is very easy to feel terrible and have our identity in tatters when the thing we are leading isn’t going well. But the doctrine of adoption says that our identity is found in the fact that we are children of God and nothing can take that away. If the thing we are leading is going great we are children of God, Likewise, if the thing we are leading is going terribly our identity doesn’t change. This helps us make weighty decisions in our leadership because if we make a bad decision and therefore we lose credibility or friends or our job it doesn’t affect our identity. It also helps us put leadership in it’s proper place. Leadership isn’t something that defines us but it is something our loving heavenly father uses to shape us into the person he wants us to be.
2. The need to be loved and liked
I was once told that only pathological killers don’t care if anyone likes or loves them. I assume that you are not a pathological killer and therefore you want people to love and like you just like me. But as leaders it is so easy to need people’s love and admiration that we turn into people pleasers and we forget about being the kind of strong leaders we need to be. But if we realise that God the father, the most beautiful person in the universe, loves us as his precious children, the love of the people will not be so captivating and we will not be as swayed by it. If I know I am loved more than I can ever imagine that means I will do the thing that I think is right no matter what people think. This is a hard thing to come to grips with but it is true. The more I know in my heart of hearts that I am loved by my heavenly father the stronger I lead.
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