Rick Warren taught a message on leadership after the Forum, and I thought it was excellent. It was simple, basic. It is in these things that the greatest challenges come. It’s the fundamentals which have the biggest returns. The simple things are easy to understand and they also easily challenge our conscience.
All leaders need INTEGRITY, HUMILITY, and GENEROSITY. Last night I was reading from Isaiah and one of the scriptures I paused on was:
“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.“ (Is 29:13)
Jesus quoted this scripture, answering the religious leaders of Israel, therefore I went back and spent some extra time thinking about the context. Chapters 28 and 29 show the interesting (and sad) progression from God’s revelation turns into human rituals.
What convicted me in the end was the human capacity to divorce appearances from reality. Loving God isn’t lip service. Yes, we are to confess with out mouth that Jesus is Lord, but there is so much more to the spiritual life than talk.
There is DO and GO and SERVE and LOVE. All of this requires more than words. The action that is required must go far beyond “the rules taught by men,” for we can follow these rules and have hearts that are still far from God. We can say the things that sound good to others, we can do the things that look good to others. These things are a waste for the spiritual life when the heart is far from God. When there is a empty place where integrity ought to be.
So I considered my own heart. I considered what I treasured most, throughout the days and weeks and different arenas I find myself in.
I often treasure being right
I often treasure being respected
I often treasure a false hope
I often treasure being served, having things my way
I often treasure being agreed with
YUCK. Those things are ugly. I wouldn’t say I’m in a spiritual slump of some kind these days, but these are the daily selfishness’ I struggle against.
Integrity is important to me. It’s been important for a long time in my life. I commit to loving God with my heart, words, and actions today; in public and in private.