1 John 5:4 (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Leadership is more about what can be, than what is. Leaders instinctively see possibilities when others see obstacles. Leaders see potential in people, when others see people with problems. Christian leaders sense God’s hand at work around them when others feel hopeless.
Everyone, at one time or another, acknowledges that life is like a war zone. We are all often made aware that some unseen force is at work against our every effort and plan. For some, this struggle against an unseen foe leads to discouragement and despair. Others just adjust their lives to a “new reality” that nothing will be gained, nothing will be won, and nothing will improve. God’s Word speaks directly against such fatalistic thinking, and yet even leaders get weary and question the purpose of their efforts.
If you and I are “Born of God,” or in other words have accepted God’s Son Jesus as our Lord and Savior which brings us as adopted children into God’s household …we have already overcome the world. How can this be? So many days are filled with struggle. So many days seem to end in stalemate, if not lost ground. In whose eyes is this a victory?
In the Civil way as Lincoln led the union army in the battle for emancipation of the slaves, He was looking for a battle somewhere that could be called a win so he could announce the Emancipation Proclamation. Finally in the third year of the Civil War, a turning point came. On September 17th of 1862 the battle of Antietam was fought with 23000 casualties in its only day. In one of the single bloodiest days in all of history, Lincoln saw that the great sin of slavery in America could be overcome. Slavery could be blotted from our shores, and it was time to drive a flag into the ground of history to mark the occasion. Six days later Lincoln released the proclamation, and it was distributed all across the North and South. In the years to come, both his friends and detractors, saw this bold move as an example of his ability to see possibilities around him where others only saw grim physical realities.
You and I need to realize that success, victory and overcoming is not just getting our way. Overcoming begins and ends with us banishing the ideas and attitudes of defeat, and replacing them with faith and confidence for the future. This is no “Polly-Anna,” rose-colored –glasses kind of faith. The Faith we are directed to have is the confident kind that the struggles we face are already overcome, and we just need to be led by God through the remaining battlefield.
What battle has stymied you these past years? What struggle, either professionally or personally, has brought you to think of stalemate as the “new normal” of your life? I would like to suggest you reclaim your rights as one of God’s kids, and look for some potential in your situation. You may need to bring others in to get fresh eyes on your situation (Quakers often call this a Meeting for Clearness). You may need to find a new approach. Actually you may never find victory as you presently define it. But leaders who are God’s kids look for what He has for us to gain from every situation. What ground does He want us to take? What would victory and overcoming look like to Him?