Here’s a core principle I’ve seen at work in all the faith leaders I work with, as well as in my own life:
Without a proper faith in play, you won’t win no matter what you do.
Attitude, perspective, faith ~ by which I mean, what you are actually believing about God, yourself and your life ~ that’s the key. Whatever the battle at hand seems to be about, it’s always really about faith.
If you are a faith leader, the deeper work God is after in you is establishing a solid daily practice around what you are believing. And by “believing,” I do not mean what you are hoping for, or wishing for, or desperately begging God to do, because none of those is faith.
Faith is confident assurance (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is eager expectation (Philippians 1:20). Faith is founded on what God has said (Romans 10:17).
(Why do you suppose the first question the snake in the Garden asked Eve was “Has God said…?” He was attempting to undermine her faith, which is the same thing he does with us, every single day.)
The crux of every faith leader’s battle each and every day is deciding in the core of their heart whether to believe what God has said, or not. There are many battles we each must face every day, but that is always at the heart of it.
Ours is a war of faith, about faith, and for faith. Always.
Because of this, what you believe determines the outcome of every single battle.
It’s deceptively easy for faith to give way to fear, leaving only hope in its wake, which we often mistake for faith. But hope is not faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.
Hope is “maybe.” Faith is “yes.” Hope wishes. Faith knows.
When we try to stand on hope as if it were faith, our “confident assurance” gives way to anxiety and desperation, and turns our prayers into either a) a kind of Christianized sorcery ~ making bold proclamations to conjure realities you fear will never be yours, or b) a pleading conversation with a God who must be convinced ~ via the extreme levels of your desperation and fervor ~ to bless you … which is to say, a God who doesn’t exist.
To help you discern what you are actually believing about God, yourself and your life, try asking yourself these questions:
• Where is “confident assurance” most evident in my heart right now? What am I confidently assured of when it comes to God, my work, or my identity as a leader?
• Where am I experiencing a strong sense of “eager expectation” in my life and work? What am I eagerly expecting God will do?
To be a faith leader means, in a very primary sense, to be a leader in believing. 1 John 5:4 really sums it all up:
“Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
What are you believing these days?