People evaluate us from the outside. That’s all they can see. But God looks at the heart. To lead in light of eternity is to lead from the inside out, staying in fellowship with Jesus; walking in His ways; and constantly checking our heart, character, motives, and values.
Faithful servants from years past advocate spending time with Jesus each day. Many find it helpful to spend time with Him first thing each morning. This time dedicated to the Almighty has worship, prayer, reading or studying the Bible, and confession of known sins. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12).
[Lead in Light of Eternity] is about self-evaluation for leaders–evaluating ourselves from the outside and inside. Are we living in light of eternity? “Be holy in all your conduct,” are the words of Peter (1 Pet. 1:17-18).
While I was working on one of the chapters for [my book], I was thinking about the sin of envy, wondering how I might express that sin. What I saw in myself was not pretty. I confessed my sin. Confessing a sin is agreeing with the Father that He is right and then looking to Him for forgiveness through Christ. I can stand in His presence entirely by His grace through the finished work of the Lamb of God.
The issues are these: Are my character, heart, values, and motives aligning with Jesus? Am I living and walking in the Spirit? Am I abiding in Jesus? These are questions and issues any leader wanting to honor Jesus will be asking.
It is very helpful to have brothers or sisters who have the same heart and concern in your community. I need so much help that I have different groups and mentors I relate to.
As I write this, I am at a coffee shop in Southern California, drinking coffee for another forty-five minutes before I see one of my mentors. One of the greatest challenges and motivators in my life has been to spend time with mentors over the years. These are men who are going before me in the walk of faith. Frankly, I am not sure where I would be if it was not for them and the wisdom and insight they offered me.
I have tried many things in my walk with Jesus to move toward the abiding life. I can say for certain, at least for me, there is no formula, no routine that guarantees a faithful walk. In the past I have been fed at various times by intense Scripture memory and meditation, by devotional reading and studying the Bible or by deep study of a book of the Bible. For many years I was fed more from Paul’s epistles and, more recently, from the Gospels. I’ve used devotional guides, Bible-reading guides, and other aides to my devotional life. They all had some value in my life and, of course, focused me on prayer and abiding in Jesus. Ultimately, it’s not about the activities of spending time with Abba but about my relationship with Him. I find I am often in dialogue with the Great High Priest as I go through the day.
Outward disciples, at least in my experience, do not guarantee an abiding life. But they are essential in providing a framework for right practice and living. Abiding is moment by moment and decision by decision. This is why it’s called a struggle.