Today’s study is a good one because we get to see how to overcome hindrances to being a life-giving leader. In this chapter, there are three important, powerful keys to overcoming criticalness, jealousy and pride. They are self-love, humility, and forgiveness. Let’s look at self-love first.
Self-love: It is my perspective that many Christian women believe the lie that self-loathing is somehow Christ-like; and therefore, pleasing to God. Self-loathing or self-hatred is an intense dislike for one’s self and is usually based on a sense of inadequacy or insecurities. It’s a form of false humility. In fact, it is just the opposite of pleasing God. Failing to love ourselves negates all that Jesus did on the cross for us. Because of the redemptive work of the Holy Spirit, believers can experience a solid sense of self and a love for oneself. We are children of God in the truest sense because of His great love for us. And because of this great love, we can experience wholeness, which includes a healthy sense of self. We find our value in His love for us. God values each of us so much that He gave His only Son for you and for me so that we could experience His love.
Humility: The second key to overcoming pride is humility. Life-giving leadership is based in humility. Humility is the key to abiding in love. Humility is when we put others before ourselves. We all want to be loved, feel loved and express love but we must first understand real love. Love starts with humility. Humility opens the floodgates of water so that His life-giving nature consumes the humble heart. Here are protective factors of humility:
* Humility elevates a relationship so that being right is not the focus but maintaining the relationship is the priority.
* Humility maintains a pure and innocent heart.
* Humility allows you to give influence away.
* Humility shields you against conflict because it allows you to say four simple yet powerful words, “Maybe you are right.”
* Humility allows you to acknowledge your own wrongdoings, limitations, and mistakes.
* Humility allows you to receive correction and feedback.
* Humility allows you to learn from your failures.
* Humility allows you to celebrate another’s success.
* Humility allows you to self-reflect on your behavior and words.
Forgiveness: Life-giving leaders choose forgiveness. When a woman sows unforgiveness she is sowing to her own flesh but when she sows forgiveness she is sowing to the Spirit. Perhaps that’s why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV), “Love…keeps no records of wrongs.” Remember, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that unforgiveness is NOT on the list. Forgiveness is a choice, a powerful choice which breaks chains within us.
Questions: Write a love letter to the Lord and share your response to this experience. Now write a love letter to yourself. How was this compared to writing a love letter to the Lord? Describe a time when you had to choose forgiveness.
Prayer: Father, we come to you in Jesus’ Name by the power of the Holy Spirit, and ask that you help each of us to fully love You so we can love ourselves and in turn love others. Help us to daily walk in humility and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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