Our society has many books and articles written on what it means to be a leader. Many people strive to be a leader but sometimes they are striving for positions of power or for wealth instead of being a leader for the benefit of others.
Many times leadership is really about being in control. People long to have control over their own lives and to gain that control they try and control others. The problem is that none of us are in control of our lives because we know there are many things in this life that our out of our control. We cannot control the actions of others, we cannot control our own health and wealth entirely. Yes there are things we can do to make sure we are financially and physically healthy but at any moment those things can be interrupted by things that are not in our control.
I believe this uncertainty about things we cannot control has made people work harder to become the rulers of their own lives. What people do not realize is that they are actually being led by others whether they realize it or not. Many people are trying to get us to buy their product or try their program and at some point you do follow the lead of someone else.
The Media is als0 a controlling factor these days and they can get you to FEEL a certain way and therefore, you will act a certain way. The Kaiser foundation found out in 2010 that the average child between eight and eighteen spends 7 ½ hours a day on media devices. 1 ½ hours a day texting and ½ hour on the phone. The media has saturated our lives with the hope of finding meaning. (See Pg 135 The Church in an age of Crisis by James White)
MTV’s founding chairman Bob Pittman said in 1982, “If you can get their emotions going, make them forget their logic, you’ve got them. At MTV, we don’t shoot for the 14-year olds we own them.”
The founding chairman of MTV was clear that they wanted to own you so they can lead you to wherever they want and then they could get you to purchase any product they wanted you to buy.
John Maxwell says that leadership is simply influence. You influence others to go in a certain direction.
The Atlantic Monthly put out a list of100 most influential figures in American History
100 most influential figures in American history. (Top 10)
- Abraham Lincoln
- George Washington
- Thomas Jefferson
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- Alexander Hamilton
- Benjamin Franklin
- John Marshall
- Martin Luther King
- Thomas Edison
- Woodrow Wilson
Whatever order you think these should be in and if you think they are good people or not is irrelevant because it is hard to argue against that these people had an impact on the shaping of America.
There is another list that I find just as intriguing as those who lead for a positive change. Allan Lazzar, Dan Karlan, and Jeremy Salter put together a list of the 101 most influential people that never lived.
101 Most Influential people that never lived. (Top 10)
- The Marlboro Man
- Big Brother
- King Arthur
- Santa Claus
- Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster
- Sherlock Holmes
- Romeo and Juliet
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
You can google the list and find out about each of these and you will also discover that Robin Hood was 12th , Mickey Mouse was 18th ,James Bond was 51st and Nancy Drew was 62 on a list of people that never existed. The main point they were making is that some of these fictional people created movements, thoughts of how the world should be and even convinced people to join in wars ( Look up Siegfried)
Everyone is preaching at you and trying to convince you that there is a right and wrong way to go even though many people think it is just the preachers in church who are preaching. Messages are being sent and you are following someone’s philosophy of life whether you realize it or not. Media is a powerful tool used to lead people into a belief system. Music lyrics, movie philosophies do shape the way you view life. I am not anti any of those things but you do need to pay attention to what is being taught consciously or un-consciously to you as you listen and or watch.
Many people have philosophies of life that come from the world and not from God simply because they have allowed the influence of a culture to permeate them through repetition. Some examples of Cultures influence are, ” What is right for you is right for you and what is right for me is right for me “, or another one is, “All roads lead to God”. and “Your faith and your politics should be private”. Whether you realize it or not you get shaped by these statements being said over and over again to the point that they are leading you to a belief that may not be from God.
When it comes to Christianity we are asked to surrender our control.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
You would think that according to some of the teachers of today that Jesus is here to do what we ask. When Jesus is the leader then we do not have any control over our lives because He gets to make all the decisions. We are called to die to ourselves or to literally kill our desire for control. This dying to self includes some of the faulty thinking we may have that goes contrary to the Word of God.
The reality of all of this is that you are following someone and so we need to look at who is really in the lead. King David in Psalm 5 sets the example for us as to who we are to look to as our leader and how we are to follow Him.
Read Psalm 5:1-3
1) Make time to hear the leaders voice
My King and My God.
You have time to do whatever you want to do is a statement I heard in college and has always stuck with me. We find time to do the things we want to do. Our society likes to brag about how busy they are but I believe we are more distracted by many things instead of being about the right things. Listening to the voice of God has to be a priority in our lives if we are going to make sure we are not being led by the wrong voices in our society.
David begins by acknowledging that God is the leader and that he is under His authority. David has placed himself under the control and commands of God no matter where those commands might lead him. David is saying that God is the King with the final say on what happens in his life.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
This passage in Matthew was written in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was asking God to let this cup pass from Him. Jesus knew that the experience of the cross was going to be painful humanly but was also necessary for the saving of the world. Jesus was asking His disciples to pray along with Him that He would have the strength to fulfill why He came to earth in the first place.
Jesus tells His disciples to watch and pray but they fell asleep. Watch was a term used which meant to be aware of the enemies attack. Watchmen on the Wall were men that were stationed to always keep an eye out for the enemy and if they fell asleep then the enemy could attack without warning. Watch was also used for Gods prophets to report what God had done.
Isaiah 21:6-8 This is what the Lord says to me: “Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees. 7 When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert.”8 And the lookout[a] shouted, “Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post.
We are to watch for the enemy and we are to watch for what God is doing. To watch means both of these things and yet many of us have not taken the time to watch for the enemy or for what God is doing.
In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch
David had a place to meet with God every morning and he did not just let his prayer request go up but he also watched to see what God would do. David did not come to God on his own merit or works but based on the sacrifice that was made for him. David accepted the grace of God for salvation but that did not mean that he did not have things to do in his life that would prepare him to hear God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
David prepared the place and he prepared himself to meet with God. Many times we do not hear God because we have not prepared ourselves by getting rid of the distractions in our lives. Phones today are a huge distraction because we always have them with us and they seem to always be pulling us away from times of solitude.
Do you have a regularly scheduled time with God?
How quick we are to say what we want or need from God without listening to His voice?When is the last time you sat in silence? If we are going to follow Jesus then we have to take time to hear his voice and not fall asleep.
Read Psalm 5:4-8
2) Trust the leader to guide and protect you
David is giving a plea for God to show justice for David being wrongly accused. It is easy to trust God when everything is going along as you want but do you trust Him when you are being lied about? It is difficult to trust God when things are not looking good and many people have stopped following God when they do not understand the path He is taking them on.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Whether it is this verse, John 16:33 or just as you study the Bible there is no promise that the life you live will be without its scary moments and difficulties. Pain and difficultly are not bad things in and of themselves. We like to avoid them when we can but we must admit we learn more in adversity and pain than any time of peace and pleasure.
Yes, the temptation will be to run from God when it does not makes sense but as G.K. Chesterton once said, to what will you run to?
Do not allow the shadows to scare you from taking the path He has for you. Shadows are what they are, harmless in nature only scary if you let them to be. We worship a Savior who has already conquered death so even when we face that day we can take rest in knowing to Jesus death is just a shadow.
“The intellectual answers are important. But intellect alone cannot help us navigate the minefield of pain and suffering. Other worldviews also offer intellectual answers. But Christianity alone offers a person.” (Why Suffering, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale, pg 30)
Psalm 23 says it clearly I will not fear because you are with me because you are not alone no matter how dark or scary the journey may seem at the time.
The term “Shadow of death” can mean deep darkness or death. Jesus is not only leading us but like a good shepherd he is carrying weapons. Every shepherd carried a rod which was a club like instrument that a shepherd would have on his belt. The staff was a walking stick used for balance and protection for the shepherd to use. The sheep trusted the shepherd to not only lead them but to protect them from whatever may cross their path. David in the midst of his pain is acknowledging that he trust his true Shepherd to care for him even if life does not make sense to him.
Lead me in your ways and make your way straight
David wanted to walk where God wanted Him to walk and so he was asking God to make sure he understood the exact direction God wanted him to go. Because of David’s enemies David wanted God to be clearer for him since his life was filled with confusion and pain.
We are all on a path with God and though our paths may look different we are to follow His lead. We need to pray like David that God would lead us His way and that we would know the way to go.
Read Psalm 5:9-12
3) Trust the Leader to deal with your enemies
The mouth, throat and heart were all ways of saying that what comes out of someone is who they really are.
Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
What you say reveals what is really going on inside of you. When I do not trust God my mouth reveals it by saying things that are vulgar or untrue. When people are filled with hate toward someone they cannot help but say things about the person that are negative or even lies. David was saying that their words are constantly filled with lies about him and the apostle Paul says similar words about people.
Romans 3:13-18 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.”18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
David was lied about, betrayed and even chased out of his kingdom by family members so he knows what it is like to see those who lie and manipulate seemingly get away with it. God will deal with those who do not repent of their sins and turn to Him even if God does not deal with it in your life time. People that come against others usually do so because of the selfishness that is in them. Our job is to pray for them but allow God to deal with them in His time.
The Apostle Paul says There is no fear of God before their eyes. When God is your leader then your first priority is caring about what God cares about even above your own needs.
Chapter 5 of psalms is written as if it seems David’s enemy is closing in on him. Instead of fear David rejoices because he knows that he is not alone and that God will divinely care for him. If you study 1 Samuel 23 you will see a passage where Saul had David surrounded but then the Philistines began an attack so Saul had to leave David. David took that as being God’s sovereignty watching over him.
God does not always remove our enemies as we would like but that does not mean that He will not divinely show up when it seems as though they have you trapped and surrounded. Even when we do not understand God has a plan, He is not scared and He is not outnumbered.
Someone is leading you it is your job to see whose voice or voices you are listening to. Satan will use your own voice to convince you of lies so you must remember that just because it sounds good does not make it true.
You need to make time to hear the leaders voice because if not you will hear the voices of others and you will be lead by them.
You need to trust the leader to guide and protect you even when the days seem to be dark and uncertain.
You need to trust the leader to protect you from the lies, manipulation and deceitfulness of others because, as a good shepherd, God will handle your situation.