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Feeling strong?

We want to be strong leaders. Strong leaders persevere. Strong leaders stay focused on the goal when their church, charity, business is distracted.

Strong leaders inspire the respect of their followers who seek assurance in tough days. Strong leaders continue to cast a compelling vision when others can see only the discouragements of the present.

I was listening recently to a Captain in the Army talk about his service in Afghanistan. A keen Christian he had faced two fatalities on his team following a battle with the Taliban. He recalled the heartbreak of that time and having to tell himself to ‘man up’ and keep going in the mission his platoon were involved with.

How could you not say ‘amen’ to his inspiring example?

But are we strong? In a recent episode of The Leadership File, show 362, author and speaker Jeff Lucas spoke of his latest book, There are no Strong People CWR) on the life of Sampson. He suggested that this man, known for his immense Spirit-anointed strength, demonstrates enormous fallibility, and that it is this latter feature that we should learn from. Lucas amusingly charts the many disasters that formed the Sampson narrative in the book of Judges, outlining his enormous weakness alongside his super-human strength. He candidly suggested that we be more transparent about our struggles.
The apostle Paul, as he defends himself against his opponents, says ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.’ (2 Cor. 12: 9b)

I am not sure this is suggesting we adopt a model of warts and all sermons, or talks in the boardroom where we share our ten biggest struggles. But Paul is saying that as we acknowledge our weakness we give God room to do His thing in and through us.

Many have this image that leaders, and especially church leaders, live in some rarefied spiritual atmosphere untouched by the things that ail lesser mortals. They assume we don’t face apparently unanswered prayer, battle with temptation, or go weeks, even months when we don’t sense the presence of God. But we know this happens.

Maybe alongside your desire to be strong, you might want also give thanks for weaknesses and let on, perhaps in conversation, that you are a poor and needy, just like the next person? And maybe as your fellow followers appreciate your undoubted strengths, it will be that gentle honest admission of weakness that will be a blessing to them. Why not give it a try?

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