Christmas is such a great time to refresh ourselves in the story of Jesus’ birth in the gospels. The miracle of a virgin birth, a star and a stable, kings with gifts and dreams with
angels, shepherds in awe… You can’t stop reading but abruptly we’re thrust into Jesus adult life and His ministry here on earth. In the Matthew account, we end Chapter 2 with Jesus’ parents bringing him back to Nazareth after the death of Herod, and begin Chapter 3 with John the Baptist coming onto the scene and the baptism of Jesus, along with the most profound leadership lesson in the gospels. After Jesus is baptized by John, Matthew 3:17 says, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.’” Well pleased? Well pleased with what? Last we knew Jesus was a baby, and now He just comes out of nowhere and gets baptized – He hasn’t even done anything yet for His Father to be pleased with. But this one sentence is the foundation for all of Jesus’ ministry, and should be the foundation for our leadership journey. God the Father affirms Jesus in 3 ways:
1) You are mine
2) I love you
3) You don’t have to prove a thing, I already delight in you
Matthew Chapter 4 then leaves us with no fairy tale illusions about how ministry and leadership is going to be – no time for a honeymoon period here – the Spirit immediately leads Jesus into the wilderness for the famous 40 days of testing. Jesus was able to pass the test, and navigate through every earthly challenge, because He was assured in what His Father had told him – He knew who He belonged to, He didn’t doubt His Father’s love, and there was no pressure to get His Father’s approval because He already had it.
In your leadership journey you will encounter tests and challenges that seemingly so blindside you that you can’t imagine a loving Father would ever have allowed it. You will have times where you feel like an outsider, questioning if you really belong. Other people’s approval will be fickle – one day you’re a rockstar, and the next you’re just not ‘all that’. When we come to Christ, we have the same assurance:
1) We belong
2) We’re loved
3) God is pleased with us, there’s nothing to earn or prove
But, you say, of course Jesus was confident in what His Father had told Him, how could He possibly forget? Heaven flippin’ opened up and the Spirit descended like a dove and a voice came out of heaven! So that wasn’t your experience after you got baptized? Trust me, that still, small voice from heaven will say it again to you – and say it as many times as you need to hear it. Take heed to the voice of God, He will always prepare you for the journey by speaking these truths to you.
As you reflect on another Christmas gone by, it’s a perfect time of year to remember that God loved us so much, was so intent to redeem us to Himself, that He sent His only Son, our Savior. Just the fact that we accepted Christ’s sacrifice and asked Him to be Lord of our life pleases God’s heart to no end. Before you start sprinting into this new year, take time to recall when a voice from heaven has spoken these truths to you. If you can’t remember specific instances, if there’s any doubt, ask God to encounter you with these truths this year the same way He spoke them over His Son – that you are His, you are loved, and He is so pleased with you! Being rooted in our identify in Christ is the foundation for leadership that will finish the race!
Article Submitted by: Karissa Corpeny, Director of Corporate Training, TC Southeast