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Nurturing the Leader’s Inner LifeMalcolm Webber
In Romans 8, Paul contrasts the old inner life with the new inner life in Christ:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:5-6, ESV)
Here is a clear description of the practical, internal “mechanics” of union with Christ. The maturing believer “sets his mind” on the Spirit and on “the things of the Spirit.” This means to inwardly turn away from the things of the old life (self, sin, the world, the devil) and to give our full inward attention to Him. This does not refer to our minds in a purely intellectual sense, but it means our entire inward lives – our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our motivations, our affections, our love, our desires, our focus – “all that is within me…” (Ps. 103:1). It refers to the turning of our inward lives to Him. This is the internal mechanism of union with Christ, this is the internal activity of knowing God.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Col. 3:1-2)
This is what it means to “draw near to God” (Heb. 10:22), to “seek [God] with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13), to “set the Lord always before me” (Ps. 16:8). We consciously and inwardly turn to Him, looking at Him, expecting Him to “look back.” As we touch Him, He touches us!
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you… (Jam. 4:8)
As we have seen in a previous Letter, the inward experience of fellowship with God is the living nucleus of transformational thinking and the source of everything good in the leader’s life and ministry. Consequently, the leader must place the highest priority on nurturing this inner life. Union with Christ is the fountainhead of all true Christian leadership and ministry fruitfulness.
There are so many practical ways in which we can inwardly “look at God.” Here are a few:
- Praising God (Ps. 103; 150)
- Worshipping God (Ps. 29:2)
- Thanking God (Ps. 50:23)
- Loving God (Ps. 18:1)
- Receiving God’s love (Ps. 33:22)
- Drawing near to God (Jam. 4:8)
- Appreciating God (Ps. 8:3-6)
- Resting in God (Ps. 62)
- Asking God (Ps. 43)
- Fearing God (Deut. 10:12)
- Hoping in God (Ps. 33:20-22)
- Trusting in God (Ps. 33:21)
- Desiring God (Ps. 42)
- Yearning for God (Ps. 63:1)
- Hungering for God (Matt. 5:6)
- Pouring out your heart to God (1 Sam. 1:15)
- Sharing your complaints to God (Ps. 142)
- Telling God your struggles (Ps. 102)
- Repenting, turning to God, confessing your sins to Him (Ps. 51)
- Crying out to God (Ps. 4:1)
- Weeping before God (Ps. 30:5, 11)
- Submitting to God (Jam. 4:7)
- Proclaiming God’s promises to Him (Ex. 32:13)
- Reading His Word (Ps. 1)
- Hoping in His Word (Ps. 119:114)
- Meditating on His Word (Ps. 119:148)
- Seeking God in His Word (Prov. 4:20; 5:1)
- Tearing your heart before God (Joel 2:13)
- Praying in the Spirit, praying with the understanding (1 Cor. 14:15)
- Singing in the Spirit, singing with the understanding (1 Cor. 14:15)
- Reflecting before God (2 Tim. 2:7)
- Remembering God’s works (Ps. 77:11)
- Beholding His beauty (Ps. 27:4)
- Crying “Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15)
These actions are quite diverse, but they all share one thing in common: they are ways in which we inwardly look at God. In all these various ways, the leader inwardly turns – consciously and intentionally – to Him.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another… (2 Cor. 3:18, ESV)
So, turn to Him, look at Him, inwardly reach to Him. And as you do so, listen to Him, expect Him to speak, expect Him to reveal Himself to you, expect Him to touch you with His love.
…He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21)
The actions listed above can be done continuously, as well as during special focused times in the day. If you will do them – any of them, and even just a little – it will change your life, it will transform your leadership; and God will use you to profoundly impact the lives of many others!