#287 The ABC’s of Beginning Well: Believe in God’s Promises

October 28, 2020

As we saw in the last issue, Joshua began well in his new role by acknowledging the realities of his situation. As he began he heard God give him several promises. 

5  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7  “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5-9).

At the beginning of his leadership journey Joshua heard and believed these promises which would become foundational to his leadership practice. God gave three promises that all serving leaders rely on, not only to begin their journey, but also to continue well.

God promises His presence.

I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” God promised Joshua that whatever would happen to him as a leader, God would be with him. Leaders make difficult decisions and carry the burdens of knowing their decisions impact all those under their leadership. Sometimes there are choices which need to be made which will not be accepted by those they lead. The weight of these responsibilities can cause a leader to feel lonely. But God promised Joshua that in every situation, he would not be alone, he would have God’s presence with him. Serving leaders acknowledge that they need to draw on a source of wisdom and understanding especially as they step into new levels of responsibility or face unexpected challenges.  Serving leaders rely on God’s presence to give them wisdom for the challenges of leadership. His presence gives serving leaders an awesome advantage!

God promises His power.

Three times in these verses God tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.”  Joshua would need strength and power for his new role. He was to lead people into a new land and there would be battles ahead. Leadership requires strength. Joshua was expected to do his part, but it would not be enough. As he began this role, he needed to be aware that he would not succeed because of his own credentials or previous experience. He needed the additional power God promised. So God reminded him the land he would conquer was promised by God and would provide His power to help Joshua accomplish the task. The mission was His! Serving leaders receive training and learn from books and other excellent resources. They work hard and do all they can. But they also gratefully believe that God has promised them the power they need to do what He has called them to do.

God promises His plan.

God expected Joshua to lead well, but He also assured Joshua that He had a plan. He first gives Joshua personal instructions, to carefully obey God’s law so he would “be prosperous and successful.” God would later add more details to this plan but as Joshua began, obedience was the foundation. Serving leaders do not simply develop their own plans; they seek to follow God’s plans. They believe that God’s plan is far greater and more significant than what they can conceive on their own.

Joshua began well by believing the promises God gave him. Serving leaders do the same.

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

For further reflection and discussion:

(If you are not in a new role currently, consider how these question apply to the place where you now serve.)

  • In my current leadership situation, how clearly do I sense God’s presence? What difference does it make in the way I lead? Are there things I need to do to increase my awareness of His presence in my daily activities?
  • In what way do I need power right now in my leadership? Do I tend to rely only on my own power or do I regularly acknowledge my need for God’s power in my leadership?
  • God commanded Joshua, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” In what way do I practice this in my own leadership? Are there changes I need to make to follow Joshua’s example?
  • Does my leadership focus primarily on my plans or discovering and implementing God’s plans? In what way is God inviting me to learn more about His plans for my leadership?         

In the next issue, we’ll examine how serving leaders begin well by connecting with people.

Copyright, Center for Serving Leadership, 2020.