The second mark which is present in mature leadership is the understanding and application of who we are in and through Christ. Leaders must learn to stand in the righteousness of Christ, finding their victory and completeness in the finished work of Calvary. It is not enough to only realize our inabilities to do God’s work apart from the empowerment and guidance of the Holy Spirit through brokenness and humility. If we stop here we could easily slide off into asceticism and monasticism, and thereby fail to respond to the Lord’s calling to go out as “sheep among wolves.” Times of retreat and prayer can be great and needful for our soul in the pursuit of seeking direction and intimacy. However, we are sent into the world, to preach to the world, to love those in the world, yet without being of the same spirit as the world!
The calling we have from the Lord to reach the world with the gospel requires us to understand who we are in Christ as a new creation. We will face mockers, slanderers, liars and militant atheists who get their thrill off of either getting an ungodly response from a believer, or in destroying their faith. The ungodly response is taken care of by living in and depending upon the Lord in humility and brokenness. The flesh (old man) stays on the cross and we respond with the forgiveness and grace of Christ. The strength against those (man and demons) who would destroy our faith comes by realizing who we are in Christ through our personal identification with Him.
Our position in Christ is not just a theological or doctrinal statement, but is to be a recognized and embraced reality in our heart through fellowship with Jesus and His Word. Here are just a few areas which are important realizations for those in leadership. In Christ we are:
- New Creation – (2Cor. 5:17)
- Complete in Christ – (Col. 2:10)
- Forgiven – (Eph. 1:7)
- Washed from our past – (1Cor. 6:11, Titus 3:3-5)
- Free from the Law – (Rom. 6:14)
- Have power over the Enemy – (Eph. 6:10-18)
- Seating in Heavenly places – (Col. 3:1-3)
- Loved of the Father – (1Jn. 4:9-10)
- Secure in Lord – (John 10:27-29)
- Live by the Faith “of” the Son of God – (Gal. 2:20, Eph. 3:12, Phil. 3:9)
- Have the Righteousness of Christ – (2Cor. 5:21)
- Have the Mind of Christ – (1Cor. 2:16)
- Have the Wisdom of Christ – (1Cor. 1:30)
- Are More than Conquerors – (Rom. 8:37)
- Inseparable from God’s Love – (Rom. 8:38-39)
These are just a handful of the many truths relating to who we are in Christ. If leaders fail to access these truths they will fail in one of two ways. Either they will attempt to accomplish ministry in their own strength which will push them toward burnout or frustration. Or they will be overcome by fiery darts of the enemy through personal struggle and Satan’s condemnation. And for mature leadership neither of these options is acceptable!