Why Fidelity Faith is Important for Preventing & Conquering Leadership Discouragement
We are all called to lead by example in sharing Christ and His love with others. We are all leaders, but the road isn’t easy. It takes great and mature faith to overcome leadership challenges.
Handling Leadership Discouragement: Contract vs. Fidelity Faith
Author Philip Yancey in his excellent book, Disappointment with God, distinguishes between what he calls, “contract faith” and the more mature faith of “fidelity.”
Contract faith says, “I’ll follow God if He treats me well, if He comes through for me on my terms, in accordance with my expectations, if His surprises are gentle and easy.” It is following God and stepping up as a leader, but only in exchange for blessings. It is a self-centered perspective that puts you in the driver’s seat of your life while God comes along for the ride as a life insurance policy that you don’t have accidents or there aren’t any detours or bumps in the road. God is some sort of cosmic genie who grants all your wishes and keeps all disappointment and defeat away.
Mature faith is fidelity. It presses on through the bewildering disappointments of life and remains steadfast in trusting God. It is a faith that celebrates work and leadership opportunities; a faith that recognizes that hardships are inevitable but bring growth. The great faith chapter in the New Testament is Hebrews chapter eleven. We often look to it as a source of encouragement that faith triumphs. But we must read the chapter carefully. There is a whole catalog of men and women who waited patiently on God in faith. Verse thirteen explains, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims of the earth.”
Did you catch that? These spiritual heroes and leaders didn’t receive in this life everything they were looking for from God. They had his promises but they died before receiving them. None-the-less they were firmly convinced of them, trusted the God behind them, and considered that this life was a temporary pilgrimage of pursuit, not the final destination. Because they didn’t get it all didn’t mean the promises weren’t real or that God wasn’t real it simply meant that His timing was different from theirs.
God said, “Their faith was great, I want you all to know about it and yet realize that they didn’t receive the promise of the kingdom, because I had something more in mind. I had you in mind and so I waited so the promise could find fulfillment in my Son and through Him you could be part of it too.”
Fidelity faith is vital to many aspects of living fully in Christ, not the least of which is facing discouragement. Fidelity faith acknowledges that life is hard. This sort of living means we don’t assume every day will consist of roses and sunshine. Fidelity faith is prepared for hard times, recognizes those times will create challenging feelings to overcome, and is trained to come out of the trials through faith. This is a faith we can rest in fully, knowing that God has our best interests at heart, even when times are hard. Fidelity faith helps leaders prevent and beat discouragement.
If you’re a church leader, pastor, or the leader of a non-profit organization, are you looking for leadership training or team development help? Thanks to the backing of a generous foundation, LifeEquip is able to offer leadership and organizational training at highly reduced rates to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Some LifeEquip services include pastoral coaching, OLA, Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and Lead Like Jesus.
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