I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. – Jn. 10:11 KJV
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Today’s devotion is a continuation of the devotion titled “Legitimise Your Spiritual Leadership”, where it was emphasised that it will be difficult to experience progress and comfort under a leadership that does not have the approval of Jesus Christ and by inference the Almighty God. As made clear in that devotion, such illegitimate leadership will be characterised by unnecessary bitterness and tension with the followers having the tendency to develop rebellious, disloyal and deceitful attitudes that will be difficult but not impossible to remove when the true leader eventually arrives. Jesus Christ says that the leader that does not have his authorisation will be like a thief and a robber and the legacy that such leadership can leave will be loss of property, lives and destruction as such a leadership will only steal, kill and destroy – Jn. 10:10a.
Jesus Christ says that the leadership that has his authorisation and his stamp of legitimacy;
- Will experience a smooth relationship with the followership– Jn. 10:9a. Such leader will move around the followers with nothing to fear. A leader that does not feel free amongst his followers is either in the midst of a wrong flock or has indeed lost the trust in the followers – 1Jn. 4:18-20. The feeling of discomfort amongst the flock is a sign of distrust and the fact that trust is a two-way street implies that the followers, most likely have equally lost trust in such leadership.
- Will not lack as there will be pasture provided, of course by the followers. Such will not have to deceive or coerce the followers before they provide for his needs as he is also providing for their spiritual needs – 1Cor. 9:11. A leadership that is not been cared for by the followers is an indication of a disconnect of some sorts. It is either a failure on the part of leadership to make the followers lie down in green pastures so they are lacking (Psa. 23:1-6) or an ungrateful followership that has not been properly fed with the Words of truth – Jn. 21:15-17.
In addition to this positive gains for the leadership itself, is the positive effect of a legitimate leadership on the followers. Jesus Christ lists the following as the effect that will manifest in the lives of a followership that has Christ approved leadership.
- They enjoy the advantages of a committed leadership. A leadership that is willing to make sacrifices for the comfort of its followers and will always consider the comfort of its followers as paramount – Jn. 10:11. Jesus Christ says that any leadership that does not have his approval should be considered hired hands and such should not be expected to care or be ready to make personal sacrifices for the followers – Eze. 34:1-31.
- They enjoy a very close relationship with their leaders. A Christ approved leadership strives to know the followers by associating with them – Jn.10:14. It is not possible to know the followers when there is a huge social and spiritual distance between such leadership and the followers. To know the sheep is to identify with their needs and desires and be there for them in those critical times. To have a father and son relationship with them, as anything less will question the Christian origin of such leadership. A leadership that cannot feel the pain of the followers cannot be considered Christ-like.
- They experience growth and expansion in all ramifications. That is because the leadership will constantly seek areas of growth both in number and quality – Jn. 10:16. A stagnant flock or a reducing flock is a clear indication of the absence of Christ-like leadership. God is a god of growth and in Him there is no reduction – Gen. 1:28; Gen. 9:1; 7.
- They exhibit a rare confidence that their leadership have their back in all situations. They believe they have a place to run to in times of trouble. A sort of human shelter and protection from challenges of life – Jn. 10:17. They are able to experience the hand of god through their leadership and see them as a pillar of support in trial times.
It is important for the one making claims to Christian leadership today to rate such leadership along the standards laid by Christ and determine if he/she is experiencing all that Christ says should be experienced by the occupants of such positions, and whether the followers are having the experience that they should also have under his/her leadership. Both must occur together for the leadership to be considered in positive light as absence of any of both will not portray such leadership in good light. The response of a honest assessment should be sufficient to make personal judgement of one’s performance and make necessary changes if and where necessary. May God help us all to receive a good score on that very great day in Jesus name. Amen.