Author and Pastor John Maxwell has a quote that all leaders should heed:
”The first person you lead is you.”
In a recent poll of our Take Back Your Temple member private group, I asked the following question:
”What leadership roles do you fulfill in your life, leadership defined as ”influence”?
Here were the top vote getters, in order:
- Mentor/encourage women
- Ministry leader
- I Lead Myself
- Business Owner/Co-owner
- Community Leader
No matter what form leadership takes, it is not easy! Since the first person you lead is you, how do you do it?
Leading yourself to good health is important not only for you, but as a good example for the people you lead!
Jesus gives us the best example of self-leadership in the Bible.
After all, He led Himself to complete the hardest trial anyone has ever faced: Sacrificing Himself on the cross.
I wrote this Bible study to show why Jesus could lead Himself even through difficult and painful circumstances.
Within each reason, I have some questions for you to identify any obstacles to self-leadership.
If you are having a hard time in this area right now, this is a must read.
Here are 3 reasons why Jesus could lead Himself:
Jesus was Under Authority
A Pastor I heard once defined submission as ”under the mission”.
Jesus chose to serve a mission beyond Himself. He yielded to the Father’s will.
You too can yield important things to God when you believe that God’s will and plan is better than yours.
His foresight is further and his love is greater than we have for others and even ourselves.
From Jesus’ life, we see the greatest example of submission ever in Matthew 26:39-44 (emphasis mine):
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.’’
Consider these questions:
- What do you value in life?
- What is your mission?
- Are you willing to serve a mission beyond yourself?
It is impossible to lead yourself unless you know these answers.
Without them, you’ll end up living according to what is convenient at the moment, not according to what is best now and in the future.
Jesus had Vision
Jesus could lead Himself to the cross because He could see beyond the immediate circumstance into the future:
“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”
Jesus endured the cross’ pain and shame because He could see joy beyond the pain.
He could envision the joy of fulfilling His Father’s will. Plus, He could see all of us accepting Him as Savior and our reconciliation to God as His children.
While the cross’ torment lasted hours, Jesus now has joy eternally!
From His seat of honor at the Father’s right hand, He rejoices over every sinner who repents!
Jesus led Himself to the cross because He had a vision of you and I saved and living in newness of life.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a vision of newness of life in Jesus, of living for Him?
- Can you see yourself free of the negative habits that have you bound?
- Can you see yourself thinking differently, according to the truth of God’s word?
Ask the Lord in prayer of a new vision to live out the future He has for you.
Trust that His future for you is better than you have for yourself!
Jesus was Focused
When Jesus was just 12-year old, He stated His life’s focus:
And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Consider your daily life now:
- Do you conduct your daily affairs with kingdom business in mind?
- Or are you instead focused on worldly matters, entertainment or habits that indulge your flesh?
If the latter, then those distractions are impacting your focus.
Think about the difference in power between a light bulb and a laser beam.
Both are sources of light. However, the light bulb puts out light in every direction at the same time, so its light is diffused.
On the other hand, a laser emits light in a single, narrow beam. Because that light is focused on a single point, it is powerful enough to cut through steel!
Jesus lived a powerful life. He was the Light of the World because He was laser-focused.
What about you? Do you plan your day with a particular focus – according to your mission and values?
Many people can state what they want, but they do not focus on it. Their energy is diffused.
Hear this: It is not enough to want something.
To change your daily pattern, ”Want to” must transform into ”Will do” and then ”Done!’
If ”Want to” never goes through that transformation process, then all you are left with is a bunch of wants, with nothing ever progressing, nothing ever getting done!
So let’s review why Jesus could lead Himself:
- Jesus was under submission to His Father’s will
- Jesus had a vision
- Jesus had daily focus on fulfilling that vision
In the end, what matters most in life is living each day in light of your Father’s business.
When you follow Jesus’ example each day, you will lead yourself more easily.
You may face hard choices, but you will feel more joyful and confident because you will make the right choices.
And you will live in faith knowing that your Father is pleased as you lead yourself to the place of blessing – where He wants you to go!