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The Consequences of Not Slowing Down

Posted on March 10th, 2015

One of the themes we will be talking about at The Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference on April 22-23 (click here for registering for the free Live Stream) will be the importance of slowing down for loving union with Jesus.

When we fail to slow down for loving union, sooner or later we will reap the consequences—and they are serious, both for ourselves and for those we aim to serve.

You Can’t Do God’s Work Your Way without Paying a Steep Price

Moses, along with his brother and executive pastor, Aaron, worked and waited for almost forty years to enter to the Promised Land. Their patience was repeatedly tested to the limit by a seemingly endless barrage of complaints. When the people raise a cry about their lack of food and water and accuse Moses of bringing them out into the desert to die, Moses is livid. He loses his cool and strikes the rock twice with his staff (Num. 20:8-10).

After decades of faithful leadership, Moses strays from loving union with God and takes matters into his own hands. He lashes out and rebukes the people, calling them “rebels.” The people’s needs get met, but Moses and Aaron pay a stiff price.

So, when was the last time you took matters into your own hands and “struck the rock” in your leadership? What “promised land” might you be sacrificing right now?

You Can’t Live at Warp Speed without Warping Your Soul

When the seven sons of Sceva observe the apostle Paul’s extraordinary miracles and the explosive growth of the Ephesian church, they want a piece of the action. They long for Paul’s powerful ministry and success. Here’s the story:

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. (Acts 19:13-16, emphasis added)

In an effort to capture some of the prestige that was bestowed on those who released God’s power over evil spirits, they took a spiritual shortcut. They skipped right over making a long-term investment in a life of loving union—which was the source of Paul’s miracles—and rushed headlong into spiritual realities which they did not understand and were woefully ill-equipped to deal with. As a result, they barely escaped with their lives.

Whenever we find ourselves wanting the power and ministry impact of Jesus while simultaneously resisting spending time to make a life with Jesus, we are positioning ourselves for a beating and some variation on being run “out of the house naked and bleeding.” We present ourselves as something or someone we are not. Then our souls shrivel and warp as we stray farther and farther from what is true.

You Can’t Skim without Paying a Long-Term Price

Jesus spent over 90 percent of his life—thirty of his thirty-three years—in obscurity. In those hidden years, he forged a life of loving union with the Father. The observable greatness of his three-year ministry is built on the foundation of the investment Jesus made in these unseen years. From his first days in Capernaum waking up early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:39) to his final hours in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38-46), Jesus set aside time for loving union with the Father.

If it was necessary for Jesus to have this kind of foundation and ongoing relationship with the Father, we’d have to be delusional to think we could skim on investing in our hidden life in God without experiencing long-term consequences.

I am convinced a significant reason so many of us lack the qualities Jesus modeled is because we skim in our relationship with God. Instead of contentment and calm, our leadership is marked by discontent and anxiety.

Why not consider making a U-turn and rearrange your life around an entirely new way of being a leader. In fact, what I am asking you to do is nothing short of a ground-breaking, culture-defying act of rebellion against the contemporary Western way of doing leadership. It is called slowing down for Jesus.



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