John Maxwell set it best: “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude”!
One of the key factors in leading a successful ministry is your attitude. Your internal thoughts , motivations, and feelings are incredibly important to your leadership ability. That is because thoughts lead to behaviors. If your internal thought life is not in harmony with God’s perspective on life, then your motivations and actions and decisions will also be out of sync with God’s desires. This, of course, will lead to problems in your church.
So guarding your thought life and attitude is key. But how to do it is the question.
You may be leading a church and someone has spoken ill of you. You may have Elders or Deacons who are trying to chase you away. There can be many ways that people will hurt you and possibly do you an injustice.
One danger area we have in life is when things go wrong, especially if we have been wronged in some way. When injustice of some sort has been done to us is a very dangerous time for our attitude. We feel hurt. And hurt people feel bitter. And bitterness will seep into our attitudes and perspectives on life. And this will impact our leadership.
Here are three ways that a bitter attitude will destroy your leadership ability:
1. You will begin to make “defensive decisions”. That is, you will not make decisions simply on the basis of what you think is right and true, but you will also begin thinking about what is the ‘safest’ decision to avoid criticism.
2. You will lose your joy in the Lord. This happens when you begin to wonder why God would let something like this happen to YOU. Afterall, you are a servant of God trying to serve God and His people. How could God let this happen to you?
3. You will begin to lose your love for people. Because someone has hurt you, you may begin to lose your capacity to reach out and care for others.
What is the solution to this negative spiral?
Scripture tells us to “guard our heart and mind in Christ Jesus”.
We do this by seeing life from God’s perspective.
We can learn a lot from the life of Joseph. Wronged by his brothers, enslaved, imprisoned for making a righteous choice, could all be factors which lead to him becoming embittered. But he did not. Why did these injustices not poison his attitude, destroy his joy, and dampen his love?
He shares the secret late in his life to his brothers as he reflects on all that befell him in life:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV
And this is the key: The way to protect your attitude in the face of injustice is to rely on God’s sovereign power and love.
They may certainly be intending to harm you. Joseph’s brothers had no intention to do him well so that he might end up as second in command in Egypt. They hated him, wanted him dead, and sold him into slavery. These were evil actions. But God was still in charge. God intended it for good. He intended to save lives through the things which Joseph experienced.
And God intends to save lives through the things which you are enduring. He intends to empower you to share the love and saving grace of Jesus with many others.
Two Facts to Remember About God:
1. God is intending it for Good.
This does not mean the people who have wronged you are intending it for good. It means that God in His sovereign power is able to overrule evil and bring good out of it.
2. God wants to save people
All that God has done in sending Jesus Christ to die for the sins of humanity, is because He wants to save people. All that He is allowing you to go through is because He wants to save people.
So, when you need an attitude adjustment, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. How can this experience make me Better, not Bitter?
2. Whom can I reach with the Good News because of what I have just been through?
Asking these two questions will protect your attitude, and guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. They will enable you to lead with wisdom and power. They will strengthen you as a pastor and a person of God.
Yours for making a church which is Well Fed & Well Led!