“...that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”—Philippians 3:8-9, NIV1984

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Writing on the Heart

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”—2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (ESV)
One principle of biblical leaders is that the people who are the fruit of their ministry will bear the transformation that only the Spirit brings through writing on the tablets of their hearts. It's really the Spirit that does the work. It's not that leaders are so skilled and great, it is that the Holy Spirit helps them to lead well and also works in the hearts of those who the leaders lead.

Biblical leaders don’t merely tell people to follow God's laws (tablets of stone) and expect them to follow the laws simply because they said so. They communicate the grace and truth that came through Christ, who fulfilled all of God's laws. As the Spirit changes people from the inside out, they begin to look like a “letter” from Christ, bearing the fruit of the Spirit and obedience to the laws of God. (This is also not to say that leaders don't confront people when they do wrong, but that is another topic.) This challenges me to think, “Do I lead lovingly with grace and truth, waiting on the Holy Spirit to work, or do I merely tell people to follow God's laws.”