Sunday, August 23, 2009

Faith: The Biggest Challenge

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today? is the question I'm answering today from the 20 questions for leaders that Michael Smith of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee asked Mike Hyatt.

That's a tough one. I look at some of the challenges and I can't help but think that things haven't changed in thousands of years. There's never enough resources. There are always people who don't get along very well. Then there are those people who get along too well. Just when you think you've gotten the resource problem licked, something changes and you don't know which direction you should be going anymore. It's just the same old stuff, repackaged. So, is one of these the greatest challenge? Is there something bigger? If I could name one thing that is the greatest challenge facing leaders, it is a lack of faith. Did you know there isn't a problem out there that a leader couldn't handle if he would just turn it over to God?

Have you ever seen someone develop a plan and then ask the Lord to bless the plan and make it work? Have you ever seen someone stand up in front of people and say, "If we pray about about this and have faith, I know it will work?" Is that true faith, or is it wishful thinking? Too often, leaders develop their plans, go full force ahead and when they reach a brick wall they throw up their hands and say, "Here God, make my plan work." The faith that God requires isn't the faith that he will make our plans work when they fail, though he does that sometimes. God wants the faith that believes he will do what he says he will do. Too often, leaders rush forward before waiting for a word from the Lord.

On the heels of the success of battle of Jericho, Joshua sent only three thousand men up to Ai, thinking they could take it. The people of Ai killed thirty-six and sent the rest running. Joshua must have been shocked. Hadn't the Lord told them to take the land? Didn't he want Ai destroyed like the rest? There are several reasons why Joshua failed. One reason is that the people of Ai outnumbered them four to one, but God has used smaller armies to defeat greater armies. Another reason, is that there was sin in the camp, but that wouldn't have been a problem if Joshua had known about it and gotten rid of it. The root of the problem is that Joshua assumed that the Lord would bless his plan, without first asking the Lord.

True faith is waiting for the Lord to give tell us what he wants us to do, how he wants us to process and his promise of success before we move forward. If we don't have that, we don't have faith, just wishful thinking.