Reformed Eve is a daughter of God, which makes her royalty - no matter what the world throws at her. She straightens her crown quite often.
Jesus Is the Perfect Example
I would like to correlate spiritual formation, calling, and leadership to a few of the verses that the Bible mentioned. Foremost, I wanted to mention that Jesus is the perfect example of a leader who is just, compassionate and effective.
"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)
"The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?" (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
"Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:3)
These are amazing examples of what it means to be a leader. Being a leader, in itself, is a calling. While being a leader gives one a position of power, it also involves the heavy price tag of sacrifice. There is an expression that mentions this: God doesn't call the equipped; he equips those he calls. This prompts one to consider our own spiritual gifts, abilities, and personal calling. One is immediately reminded of Moses, feeling the heat and awe of the bush that burned in front of him. He challenged God by doubting God. "But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? Moses said to the Lord, Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”(Exodus 3:11, Exodus 4:10) Even after God told him that He gave humans their mouths, gives sight to the blind, and promised to be with him (Exodus 4:11), Moses still doubted himself, and in turn, God. "Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”(Exodus 4:13) After God showed an angry side, Moses went ahead and followed through with God's design. He spoke for God, for his people, and confronted Pharoah and spoke as he was told. He was called to be a leader, even when he completely doubted himself.
Many people feel that their skills and talents are enough to pull them through. This may work in the corporate world on a financial level, as individuals try to climb the echelon to success. However, this does not abide well in the spiritual realm. Spiritual leaders, through the Holy Spirit, need to have a heart of empathy and not be afraid of changes. They can't be overtly demanding, bossing, and rude. Many people feel that this is a requirement of being a leader, as this is seen in a lot of military films, and it's a technique actually used in military boot camps. In the Book of Titus, it is mentioned that a leader can't be arrogant, quick-tempered, drunk, violent, or greedy for gain (worldly treasures and monetary compensation). A leader has to be "hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers, and deceivers..." (Titus 1:7-14) This is a really beautiful, clear message as to what a leader looks like.
Calling, as per my understanding, has to do much with spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are completely different from developed talent. Talent is a segment of our individual personalities, but the Holy Spirit is actively working when it comes to our spiritual gifts. There are two amazing scriptures that mention leadership as spiritual gifts:
"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12: 6-8)
"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ." (Ephesians 4: 11-16)
These scriptures emphasize the qualities of a leader. A leader must be full of Christ and lead others in a way to prevent them from being tossed by the violence and darkness of life. A spiritual leader is called to speak only truth, and help those who are spiritual children grown to be spiritual men, regardless of their age. Being a leader is working, actively, to constantly build up the church of Christ in a way that is humane, respectful, and with eagerness.
In the Spiritual Formation book, Petitt mentions that when he applied for seminary, he was asked about his calling. “I had not seen any bright lights giving me signals as to what my career path should be. So how should I understand “calling”? One has to focus less on the act of doing, and more on the act of being more like Christ. How is one being a living sacrifice? This is more important than having the title of Chief Pharmacist or some high rank in the military. A calling is manifesting your talents in order to share God’s word in a way that is almost tangible. Paul mentions, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23)
1 Paul Pettit, Foundations of Spiritual Formation : A Community Approach to Becoming like Christ (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Kregel Publications, A Division Of Kregel, Inc, 2008).
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