Thursday, June 30, 2016

Take me to your leader!

Who’s your leader? previously published in Christian Courier

Have you ever been asked to identify your leader? How would you best answer that question? Would you ask for clarification, some perspective as to where the question is coming from? To be honest, I haven’t been asked to think about that very often. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever come up.
In an ever-changing cultural climate, I believe we should be asking that question of ourselves. Examine who is leading your life and the lives of those you love. So let me begin by asking you, “Who is your leader?”
We can answer a variety of ways. We could give the name of our pastor or a leader at church; we might mention a spouse or parent; you might think first of your country’s political leader, elected to rule. Hopefully Christians say that Jesus is our leader, and we have submitted our lives to his perfect plan. Yet is this truly the case?
As I was examining my life, I realized that I can be quick to say that Jesus is my leader; I follow his direction and submit to his authority. If I am honest, however, my human bent is toward “me” being the leader of my life. When I first realized that I was struggling with same-sex attraction, I began to petition God to do something. He needed to change me and wipe away all of this undesired attraction toward the same gender and turn my head to the opposite gender. I really wanted him to guide me like a Genie in a bottle, or wave some magical wand to give me an easier life. I wasn’t too keen on a leader who would ask me to deny my sexual attraction to guys when it felt like it was such an integral part of who I was. In essence God, my leader, was asking me to deny every aspect of my life and follow after his direction for my good and for his glory. That seemed too much like a dictator. The deeper wrestle inside of me was “me.” The question that my human heart was asking was “What’s in it for me?”

If we are honest, I believe we all wonder that at some point in our lives, which comes from a rebellious and sinful nature. It’s similar to the serpent in the garden that tempted Adam and Eve with the statement, “A loving God wouldn’t withhold this good from you!” I personally wrestled with this for years. I ate the apple of my own desires and led my life away from God’s best for me. Taking leadership and living my own life felt good, most of the time. It seemed right. I read other people’s views that would validate and orient me toward me continuing to be in control of my own life and destiny.
Then God came and asked if I would elect him as the true leader in my life. I had a decision to make. I could continue to live as the leader of my life or I could begin to trust God that his ways were better than mine. When I placed my trust in him, he began to lead me in a way that was so different than what I expected. First he established that he loved me and this would never change. No matter what I would face or go through, he promised that he would not abdicate his leadership over my life even when his best for me would not feel good. I was tentative with this new relationship and in many respects I still am. There are many times when I take the lead role in my life instead of seeking first the Kingdom. Then I’m thankful that my leader is also my heavenly father who extends mercy and grace instead of punishment.  
So who is your leader? And can you trust God that his ways are better than yours?

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