Spiritual Leadership Of The Family
(Thread begun by RandyP )
The question is often asked how spiritual leadership is either established or restored in the family. The state of the modern Christian family is of tremendous concern to us in part because it appears to so closely resemble the state of the secular family in general. I believe that to be because of our lack of separation as Christians from the more corrupted leadership principals of this world.
It is the exact differentiation of the spiritual principals outlined here that makes for the success of Christian leadership in the family possible, this over and beyond any competing non Christian or nominal Christian form. It is also the same distinct differentiation proposed that will make for it's abundant fruitfulness within the Christian family home.
The following discussion is based upon the "Foundations Of The Like Precious Faith Series" hosted by http://likepreciousfaith.us . The series itself is a thorough examination and study resource into the much broader weight of "Like Precious Faith". It is highly recommended for anyone seeking to better understand the principals being undertaken here.
Let's begin our exploration into this matter by acquainting ourselves to five initial easily understood spiritual principals of leadership in general as laid out by the Apostle Peter in the text nkjv@2Peter:1:1-4
Principal 1 - In order to be a true spiritual leader to others one first has to be spiritually lead.
kjv@2Peter:1:1 @ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ...
Seems quite obvious does it not? Yet at the core it is perhaps the most fundamental problem with our modern form of spiritual leadership is that we lead by our own inclinations/rationalizations/self justifications/understandings etc... spiritual as we think that they sound. For the most part we do not know of anything other. (See: SimonPeter ServantApostleOf )
Principal 2 - In order to be a true spiritual leader one's faith must be derived from and placed squarely upon the righteousness of our God/Savior.
kjv@2Peter:1:1 @ ...to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
The problem historically, discovered throughout Old Testament Israel, was not that their leadership did not desire to lead them into what was right, it was that they were severely confusing what was right in their own eyes with what they presumed was right in God's eye. Right by man and right by God have been substantially proven to be two completely separate things; this despite man's good and religious intention. (See: FaithObtainedThroughRighteousnessGodSavior )
Principal 3 - In order to be a true spiritual leader the fuller recognition and acknowledgement of God and of Jesus our Lord must be multiplying one's grace and peace with the course laid out ahead.
kjv@2Peter:1:2 @ Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
The true leaders evidenced in the scriptures were not likely at grace and peace with whatever their present situation was. How could one be at grace and peace with slavery or fighting or rampant sin and idolatry? They were rather at peace with God's handling of it and His conscripting of them into the forefront of the heavy action against it. Such is a grace and peace born of the full and complete recognition/acknowledgement of whom Christ Jesus is in all that He reveals Himself to be. (See: GracePeaceMultipliedKnowledgeGodJesus KnowledgeOfJesusChrist )
Principal 4 - In order to be a true spiritual leader God's divine power must be relied upon and operated in.
kjv@2Peter:1:3 @ According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
What of any use is it to be lead and to lead others by spiritual principals if such an effort is only to be carried out and supported by mere human resource? There is obviously an abrupt disconnect in what is being attempted to be achieved here if not fully advanced and sustained by the power and resource God HIMSELF. Think of the battles won when God's power was ahead of early Israel and the embarrassments losing when HE was placed behind. (See: DivinePowerGivenAllThingsLifeGodliness CalledToGloryVirtue )
Principal 5 - In order to be a true spiritual leader the things being done and the reason/intents behind them must be detached from corruption else they are not spiritual.
kjv@2Peter:1:4 @ Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Let's face it! Whatever the answers and plans a man is going to make for himself or for others, no matter the intention, they are going to be corrupted by virtue of being human in some (or all) respect. If the best answer minus God's answer is only a half answer and if with every man made answer there are unforeseen/unintended negative consequences, why should there be any leadership at all? (See: ExceedingPromisesPartakersDivineNature EscapeCorruptionWorldLust )
The point I wish to mention of all five of these fundamentals is that God is all about this (it is of HIS righteousness), God has created us for this, God has promised for this, God has provided the means for this, God has liberated us for this, it is substantial portion of the nature of HIM that we are to partake of, God has executed and is executing this presently through Jesus Christ. The fact that we are not operating in this currently is not a questionable reflection upon HIM, it is much to do about us and our insistence upon our own more comfortable forms of leadership.
Read this section again as a whole:
kjv@2Peter:1:1-4 @ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
These five initial spiritual principals when applied to the consideration of leadership are true of all forms of spiritual leadership regardless whether being adhered to by a Pastor/Elder in the local church or a parent in the home. The foundational principals behind spiritual leadership are not one thing for the one and another thing for the other. In fact, the elected leaders on the larger scale are exhorted to first be successful leaders on the smaller scale. The same exact principals are always very much in play.
Having then briefly considered these foundational leadership principals, the question immediately becomes how best to go about establishing/restoring these principals to their intended spiritual use. For this further consideration we will continue with the Apostles present discourse nkjv@2Peter:1:5-7.
kjv@2Peter:1:5-7 @ And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
All Diligence - It is not just to add another something to do to the long list of things that one already has to get done, it is doing nothing but this as one approaches the consideration of how to do everything still needing to be done, it is the overall manner in which one pursues to get all of this done. Apply these five principals identified above evenly across all that your day consists of and you will see much growth in the next set of crucial Spirit driven attributes below. (See: AllDiligenceAdd )
Please note that the following attributes listed by Peter are being combined or compounded (added) together. These are spiritual attributes that we not only have to operate in, but need to foster throughout our families as well:
Spiritual Attribute #1 - Virtuous Faith
Strong/bold/courageous/manly becomes this obtained "like precious" faith as it steps forward. Vigorous and with uncommon valor towards the moral imperative despite all opposition and odds placed against it. As the enmity between carnal and spiritual wills is aroused opposition is very likely to come against it and thus virtue required of faith. Such is not to be mustered from one's own self, but brought about by the direct influence of God's rightful effect upon the HIS servants.
(See: VirtuousFaith )
Spiritual Attribute #2 - Knowledgeable Virtue
The direct influence of God subscribed to by virtuous faith is actuated by the knowledge of who God actually is, what it is that HE intends, how HE intends for it to be done. Virtuous leadership can be crippled without this interpersonal knowledge, it can also be preempted by plain cockiness or misinterpretation or shortsightedness.
(See: KnowledgeableVirtue )
Spiritual Attribute #3 - Temperate Knowledge
The prerequisite then to this knowledgeable virtue is to protect it by spiritual temperance. Carnal and spiritual will can easily be crossed over into just as carnal and spiritual resource. Commentary and conjecture can riddle canonized writ. Expectation and preconceived notion the weight of a feather can easily tip the balances toward the self willed's favor.
(See: TemperateKnowledge )
Spiritual Attribute #4 - Patient Temperance
Jesus did not allow the difficulties that He was having bringing His disciples to an understanding of His message to overwhelm the progress that He posthumously was to make eventually toward that end goal. Much of what He was doing for three solid years was leaving their final understanding to the Holy Spirit after His resurrection/ascension. He has placed the same trust in the Spirit towards our eventual understanding. It seems that with everything in the past He has wanted godly men to achieve that He has also required a sizable measure of patience. Without patience there is not temperance. Without temperance there would be no knowledge. So on and so forth.
(See: PatientTemperance )
Spiritual Attribute #5 - Godly Patience
To be godly is to be god-like. That is not to say that we need to become gods, but that our God needs to have considerable influence and effect upon us as HE sees fit. It is commonly assumed that godliness is strictly a firm moral character when in fact the godliness that Jesus Himself modeled was often accused harshly of being immoral because of His constant and sought after personal relationships with sinners. Moral character can be a very tricky thing and so is very much given to the proper discernment between God's heart towards any matter versus the letter and interpretation of any law thus governing it.
(See: GodlyPatience )
Spiritual Attribute #5 - Brotherly Godliness
What is any spiritual leadership if it is not first and at it's core brotherly? Brotherly in it's intention? Brotherly in it's execution? The puzzle to which we must find a suitable answer is whether brotherly kindness in it's familiar worldly form is the same thing meant by scripture in the spiritual sense. Could it not be said that brotherly kindness is passively tolerant of any immorality or amorality in any measure? How then can we commit to a notion such as brotherly godliness when the two by this definition seem to contradict? The answer of course closely relates to the form of brotherly kindness first modeled by Jesus Christ.
(See: BrotherlyGodliness )
Spiritual Attribute #6 - Agape Kindness
It is as if all these things mentioned in this list are all part of the same thing: God fearing/God effected/loving kindness. Human language/intellect necessitates that we dissect the whole of this matter into smaller bite size chunks. What does it mean to lead by God fearing/God effected/loving kindness if not to lead by virtuous faith? What does it mean to lead by God fearing/God effected/loving kindness if not to lead by temperate knowledge or godly patience or any other compound of these key elements? This all is the effect God's love upon us. It is also as a whole the love God wants us to operate in toward each other. Is it not?
(See: AgapeBrotherliness )
As parents/leaders it holds that to move forward towards establishing or sustaining or restoring this particular spiritual form of leadership requires us to begin doing each of theses things as a whole across the board toward all the many things daily that are needing to be done. More than just something else to do, it is the way we approach doing all things. We must know enough of these spiritual concepts (well described in all of scripture) to step away from the stale carcass of worldly carnally minded leadership as we have known it, stepping out then onto the unfamiliar plank of a much better spiritual discernment. Once that we have begun to become familiarized with this new way it becomes time to encourage our families and others by our living example.
Applying Like Precious Faith to Leadership
It might well be said that the followers of Jesus are therein called to be leaders within their own immediate circles. That is not meant to be translated "bosses", it is better meant as Peter described it "servant and Apostle of Jesus Christ" (a smaller case apostle likely in our case).
nkjv@2Peter:1:8 @ For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
nkjv@2Peter:1:9 @ For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
nkjv@2Peter:1:10 @ Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
nkjv@2Peter:1:11 @ for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.