Dear Lord, please help me write the words you desire on this important subject.
There is a continuum of controlling behavior, ranging from those who are very demanding to those who are extremely permissive. Where do you fall on this scale? Are you more inclined towards dominating, directive, and driven behavior, or are you more easygoing, tolerant, and lenient?
Leaders often display varying degrees of controlling behavior, which can sometimes lead to trouble. God has endowed us with the skills and abilities to lead people. Depending on your effectiveness as a leader, people are more likely to follow and be influenced by your words and actions. Those in leadership roles are frequently tasked with guiding individuals along a specific path. Yet, it is essential to be cautious not to overstep and exhibit excessively controlling behavior.
Personally, I must remain vigilant and regularly consult with the Holy Spirit to ensure that I am not crossing the line from influencing others to controlling them. Let's see what scripture has to say on this matter.
When viewed through the lens of God's Word, it becomes evident that leadership requires a delicate balance—a balance that respects free will while offering guidance. Ephesians 4:2-3 encourages us to "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." This message advocates a leadership style characterized by patience and love, rather than coercion or dominance.
In the Gospels, Jesus provides the perfect example of leadership. He led with authority, but His authority was rooted in love and servitude, not in control or demand. Mark 10:42-45 emphasizes this when Jesus tells His disciples, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be a slave of all." Jesus' message is clear: true leadership lies in service, not in being overly controlling.
As leaders, whether in a church, in the workplace, or within our families, we need to remember the distinction between being a shepherd and an autocrat. A shepherd leads, cares for, and protects the flock, guiding them gently. An autocrat demands, controls, and instills fear. Which are we called to be?
James 3:1 reminds us, "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." This is a sobering thought that should prompt us to reflect on our motives and methods in leadership.
The balance between influence and control can be delicate. It requires self-examination and a continuous return to the feet of Jesus, seeking wisdom and guidance. The book of Proverbs offers valuable advice on this topic. Proverbs 16:32 says, "Better to be a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city." Patience and self-control are highlighted as virtues of great value, surpassing the power and control that a warrior might exert.
In conclusion, as we navigate the complexities of leadership and influence, let us do so with a heart that strives to mirror the heart of Christ. Let us lead not by control but by the example of love, service, and patience, trusting that God's Spirit will move in the hearts of those we are guiding. The words we write, speak, and live by should reflect this understanding, always aiming to build up rather than confine, to free rather than bind. May we pray continually for discernment and strength to embody this godly approach in all areas of influence we are privileged to steward.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
November 3, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if these daily, transparent "Conversations with Christ" bless you, please visit www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, along with a repository of all of them in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you abundantly as you engage in your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.