Often, many of us in leadership are so used to being engrossed in activities and giving advice and direction to people that we do not have enough time for self-reflection.
The following are 10 questions every leader should continually ask themselves:
1. Am I involved in an activity without purpose? Often we make the mistake of thinking that much activity is equal to productivity. Sometimes the busiest people can be the most unproductive people because they major on the trivial things in life, instead of the most important things. We all have to discern between good things and God things to do.
2. Do I value programs more than the people around me? Often leaders are so institutionally minded that they focus most of their energy on developing programs rather than investing in developing the people around them. Biblically speaking, Jesus did not build a huge organization, but He built a great leadership team that would eventually create the greatest movement the world has ever seen.
3. Am I seeking God commensurate to the call and assignment of God in my life? The more influential you become, the more opportunities will come your way that can crowd God out from your world. We should never be too busy to pray! God can only trust us with true influence based on our understanding of His ways and intimate knowledge of His person.
4. Am I solely focused on the outer world of goals, objectives and accomplishments or am I also paying attention to my inner-man regarding my call to grow in love, humility and living for the glory of God? Since most leaders are used to being in control, it is easy for them to live a life obsessed with objectives and accomplishments as a gauge to value their worth. The Bible teaches us clearly in 1 Corinthians 13 that the greatest pursuit to have is the pursuit of love, which assumes spiritual and emotional maturity. This comes only through paying more attention to our motives and emotional health (out of which arises spiritual vibrancy) than to mere accomplishments and objectives.
5. Am I investing enough of my time into the key relationships God has given me?
Jesus said in John 17 that of all the people the Father gave Him, He lost none. Jesus always focused most of His attention toward the 12 apostles the Father gave Him to disciple.
To maximize our purpose, we need to invest the proper amount of time with our spouse, biological children, spiritual children and key people God has called us to build His kingdom with.
6. Do I recognize the season of life I am presently in? Everybody is in a different season of life approximately every 20 years. Often leaders in their 70s and 80s are still trying to accomplish things those in their 20s and 30s should be doing. Those in their 20s to 50s are focusing on success, but those in their later years should be focused on significance, which primarily comes from mentoring younger leaders.
7. Am I continually cultivating the habit patterns necessary to achieve the maximum amount of efficiency? Our destiny is determined by the habit patterns we have cultivated throughout our lives. We have to continually ask ourselves if we are focusing on developing the habits connected to our ultimate purpose in life. Often, people spend more time with hobbies they are passionate about than developing habits necessary to fulfilling their destiny.
8. Do I care for the health of my spirit, soul and body? Often leaders neglect one major area of their lives because they are focused solely on another area. I have seen many leaders neglect their health with poor eating habits and or a lack of sleep or lack of exercise. Their ensuing health problems limit their leadership capacity or results in their premature death. God wants us to give equal attention to the development of good habits related to our spiritual life, emotional health and physical health. Neglecting just one of these areas will greatly limit your ability to fulfill God's purpose in your life (1 Thess. 5:23).
9. Am I a good steward of my time, money, and the gifts and talents given to me? God has given each of us a certain measure of gifts, talents and abilities. We will all be judged as stewards of these gifts God entrusted to us. To whom much is given, much more will be required on the Day of Judgment. Too many leaders allow major gifts and talents they have to remain dormant! Whatever God is giving you, you are responsible to develop and maximize for His glory.
10. Am I surrounding myself with the people who can bring me to the next level of His purpose? I can usually predict a person's trajectory by checking out the people closest to them. Those who hang out with bitter people will become bitter. Those who hang out with lazy people will become lazy and those who hang out with high achievers will themselves have a better chance of maximizing their abilities. Most importantly, surround yourself with the proper mentors and friends who will inspire you to go to the next level in life. Your closest confidants should be those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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