I want to preface this by saying that this letter is addressed to those of you who try your best to follow Jesus in this crazy world. I am writing it because there are some things He has put pretty heavily on my heart recently that I want you to hear, too.
Before I go any further I also have a note for all readers: This is not a “men vs. women” article nor is it meant to spark any of the hot debates about who should lead who, gender equality, etc. I love a good controversial conversation (perhaps too much) and I have many opinions of my own. But this letter is not intended to reflect opinions and it is not asking for yours in return. That is my nice way of telling those of you who are star participants of comment section dramas or heroes of Facebook war-zones to shut it and save it. As much as the rest of us admire the words you so bravely blast from behind a computer screen, your political opinions are irrelevant on this particular stage and I’d hate to see you waste your punch lines.
This is simply a message to men from a heart that wants to encourage.
Glad we are on the same page. Moving on.
First, I want to thank those of you who fight an often unrecognized battle.
I know this is not an easy world to live in as a man – far from it. I know that if you are following Jesus, or even just trying to be a good person in general, you are constantly fighting off attacks of many kinds; temptations disguised as many different things. On top of that, you daily face a society that tries to define you by the very things you want to resist and sends mixed signals about what it means to be a real man. Please hear me when I say that choosing to fight through all of it is about as manly as you can get.
In light of that battle, I want to remind you of a few truths that are bigger and stronger than any distorted standards this world tries to force on you. The overarching truth is that God created you in his image (Genesis 1:27). And the piece of that truth I want to zero in on specifically is that because you are created in His image, and He is the ultimate leader, you are also a leader.
Truth: God created you with the ability to lead. It is part of who you are.
It is there, ingrained in your very being regardless of whether or not you want it to be, regardless of whether or not you feel like it is. You do not have to fight the battle of creating the potential characteristic in yourself, that part is already taken care of. Your fight is stepping into it, which begins with the decision to do so and choosing faith to back it up.
Truth: You don’t have to deserve the potential to lead.
The ability to lead was never yours to earn or even ask for in the first place. You do have to earn the right to lead specific people, groups or initiatives and you do have to be prepared to surrender control to the Lord (John 30:30) but being worthy of His desire to work in you is not a burden you have to carry.
Truth: You may be unqualified but you have been called and justified (Romans 8:30)
You might not feel like you have what it takes to really lead. Maybe you’ve tried and failed to lead a girlfriend, fiance or wife towards Jesus. Maybe you can’t even lead yourself towards Jesus. Maybe you are a leader when it comes to beer pong but not exactly Bible study. You’re the go-to guy for a good time but not for people who have questions about salvation. Maybe you’ve never led a single thing in your life and have accepted that you can’t so you don’t even want to anymore. You’re good at other things, just not that.
Anyone who has ever said, suggested or decided that you are not capable of being a leader in some capacity is wrong. (Feel free to send this to them. Confrontation is my favorite. Do it.)
Truth: No one else has the right to tell you what you can or can’t do when GOD walks onto the field.
Not a colleague. Not your boss. Not your dad. Not your girlfriend. Not your ex-significant other. God wouldn’t have created you with leadership potential if He didn’t intend to use it. That would be like making a Bugatti without an engine. Total waste. He specializes in activating world changers who wouldn’t exactly be considered prime candidates by anyone else. We see it over and over in the Bible.
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13 (NIV)
Peter and John were just average fishermen. Peter was rough-around the edges, super outspoken and often wrong, yet one of the most influential men in the Bible. John was a hot-head (or “son of thunder” as Jesus called him) with a quick temper. He became one of the few who were closest to Jesus and those weaknesses turned out to be powerful forces against the enemy. And how about Paul? That was one scary dude before he met Jesus. Theologian Philip Schaff describes him as “[for a while] the most dangerous enemy of Christianity, but after his conversion its most useful promoter. The weapons of destruction were turned into weapons of construction. The engine was reversed, and the direction changed; but it remained the same engine, and its power was increased under the new inspiration.”
The same God who made those guys made you. That makes you a huge threat to the enemy and he would love nothing more than to see you walk away in discouragement. But Satan’s only chance for victory is convincing you to give up. Fight him off by stepping into who you are – who you were so carefully made to be, because what happens next is dangerous.
The core of THAT man is the antidote for insecurity.
The conflict of identity loses power. This world loses its right to enforce labels on you. People no longer have so much influence over the confidence you feel when making decisions.
At the risk of sounding aggressive, I would challenge you to consider whether any feelings of inability to lead are legitimate fears or cop-outs. Either way God is the key to turning it around, but it is important to be honest with yourself here. If you truly do feel trapped in the idea that you do not have what it takes, that’s a lie. If you just don’t care, you’re missing out and that sucks for you.
One of the best parts about stepping into who God made you to be and utilizing the gifts He has given you is finding yourself suddenly walking in purpose instead of chasing things that never last.
Finally, on behalf of women – although certainly not all will agree with me here – we need those of you who fight this fight. We need the qualities that God gave you because they lead us closer to Him like they were designed to. I am all for equal rights and women as leaders. I feel called to be one in specific ways myself. For heaven’s sake I don’t think they had even cut the umbilical cord before I told my Dad “you can’t tell me what to do” for the first time. HOWEVER, I also know God gave us each characteristics designed to benefit each other. Society has focused for too long on the wrong things and twisted what God created to be an incredible, miraculous way to show Himself.
The TRUTH is He gave you unique characteristics that, when used under His influence, are direly needed on Team Woman.
So my challenge, or really my request is: keep fighting. Please. You are needed, you are called, and you are capable because GOD is and because GOD says so. It takes more courage to cling to Him than it does to ignore Him. It takes more manliness to embrace humility and allow yourself to need Him than it does to pretend you can do everything on your own.
Lastly (since I already used finally), know this is written by and from someone who has experienced a lot of pain at the hands of men. I say that only to express how genuine it is – a sincere request from me but more so an invitation from the Lord. I would not be able to confidently claim this as truth if it were not HIS truth or I did not know Him. But it is, and I do.
A woman who believes in Jesus, in you