Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Pressure”

Dealing with Leadership Pressure

Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him. “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.” 1 Samuel 13:7-14 NIV

The situation for Saul was deteriorating rapidly. His troops were “quaking with fear.” His appointment with his mentor, Samuel, was delayed indefinitely. Some among his followers began to desert him. He needed to act – or so he thought. What to do with all this pressure? And so, he took matters into his own hands and decided to make an offering to the Lord and just as he finished his mentor arrived. Note Samuel’s question, “What have you done?”

Saul replies with an explanation of his reasoning for the decision to do something he knew was wrong. His three reasons were: 1) the men were deserting him, 2) Samuel was late in coming, and 3) he feared an attack without having God’s favor. Thus, he “felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” He caved to the pressure of the moment and deliberately disobeyed the Word of God. It was a reasoned decision, not taken without forethought. But Samuel describes his decision as “a foolish thing… you have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you.”

No matter how well reasoned our actions, regardless of the pressure of the moment, we are to obey the Word of God and not give in to outside pressure or our own logic. Trust God and obey! He has your back!

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7 NIV

Leaders and Pressure

Leadership and life itself is full of pressure.  The pressure comes from within and from without.  Some stresses are self-imposed and some are unexpectedly born.  Regardless of the source, we chafe under pressure, wanting to throw off the strains that sap our life blood and divert our attention.

In Isaiah 5 we find a metaphor of the vineyard referring to God’s people.  God is described and planting the choicest vines in His vineyard and building a hedge of protection and a watchtower in the midst of it.

But God also builds a winepress in the middle of His vineyard, for it is only through the use of this press that the desired results can be obtained.  Grapes are grown to be pressed in order to release the juice stored within them.  Without the pressing of the grapes no wine will be produced.  And so too are we pressed to shape us into the desired image of Christ.

God’s press comes in multiple forms.  It can be relationship stresses, financial pressures, external threats to the mission or task, health issues–the list is seemingly endless.  All are used by God to drive us out of our self-reliance and into dependence upon Him.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 we read of Paul’s press that God was using in his own life and how he was responding to it.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Note that the pressure Paul describes was far beyond what he thought he could handle, even to the point of wanting to give up and die.  He summarizes it all by saying that the purpose was to force him to rely on God, not himself.  In closing he makes this conclusion – the Lord has delivered in the past, He will deliver them from their current difficulties, and will also continue to deliver them when they face more challenges in the future.

God wants dependent children, not independent ones.  Lean into and embrace the press that you are under.  Don’t run from it.  Rely on Him and let Him accomplish all that He intends through this in and through you.

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