Christianity Rose Gold Crowns

21st Century Eve

It’s Leader’s week over at Kairos as it is here and uniquely God gave me the same message for both.

Obedience is better than sacrifice.

There is a vital leadership back story to this phrase. King Saul is given a mandate to take down the Amalekites and does though – except he does it his way. Against the instructions given to him, he decides to save the best sheep and oxen as a sacrifice to God. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, right? However, Prophet Samuel is sent by God to rebuke Saul for his rebellion. Saul defends his good intentions but Samuel is categorical when he says:

“Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obedience to the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed [is better] than the fat of rams.”

1 Samuel 15:22 AMPC

Why does God require obedience from us? Especially as leaders?

Is He a tyrannical dictator who must have His way at all costs?

Is there room for how we think or feel?

Is there room for our voice?

I do believe there’s room for discourse in my relationship with God. Obedience is first a factor of the heart (emotion) and mind (intellect) before it is of the will (action). I can take action in the name of obedience but if my heart is off, if my mind is off, my obedience is off. So being on the same page with God concerning His heart for my obedience matters.

But we must approach this discourse with the full awareness that we are not equal to God. And that’s where many of us miss it.

We’re trying to reason with God as though we’re on the same playing field when we’re not. His leadership and ours are not on equal planes. His ways are higher than ours. He is the Potter, we are the clay. He’s been around for eternity – He’s pretty much seen it ALL? How long have you been here again?

When you acknowledge you don’t know it all and hardly have it figured out, you’re able to come to God from a place of humility even while being honest with your questions. And the Bible spells out time and again, that humility – the accurate estimation of self – is the prerequisite to getting divine wisdom.

I don’t think obedience is just about do’s and don’ts. The first separation of woman from God happened in Eden; when Eve fell for the serpent’s scheming and ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

In actual sense the issue here wasn’t whether the fruit was to be eaten or not. No. It was whether Eve trusted God’s intentions for her and Adam. The serpent’s bait was simple – don’t you think God is withholding something good from you?

At the core of the choice to obey or not to is a question of trust. Do you trust the person issuing the instruction to obey? Can you count on them having your best interest at heart even when you’re not entirely sure about what they’re asking of you?

So a conversation with God concerning obedience moves beyond what you should or shouldn’t do, to how much do you really trust Him with your well-being? Do you truly believe He wants the best for you even when it’s not immediately apparent that that’s the case? Do you believe that He has your back as a leader, as a woman, and will not lead you astray in your decision making?

Just because we mean well doesn’t automatically mean we will be well or do well. Our good intentions cannot be a benchmark for trusting our intellect, emotions, instinct and experience more than we trust the leading of the Holt Spirit. It is folly to lean more on our understanding than we trust in God.

We must be wary of good intentions outside the will of God. Just because you think something is good doesn’t mean it is right. Saul meant well. But he expressly disobeyed God and there were dire consequences. By the time God is giving you a particular instruction, consider that He has factored in everything that you are aware of concerning a matter and everything that you have no comprehension of. He’s the best leadership advisor you could ever get and then some.

Our obedience as leaders is made far more weighty because the consequences of our choices will be felt not just by us but by those who we are under our cover. All these millennia later the script hasn’t changed. The serpent is still trying to convince us that God is holding out on us.

But the outcome can be different.

We can say no to his tricks. We can choose to put our hope in God. We can choose to say I will believe You until I can see it. We can taste what He has laid out for us knowing that we will find that the Lord is indeed good.  We can unreservedly follow God with every fibre of being because of who He is to us – a Father who wants the very best for His children.

This is what it means to be a Godly leader.

Knowing that a good Father will never ask you for anything that is not good for you.

Accepting that you can never outdo God in meaning well for yourself and others.

Putting your obedience to Him above any sacrifice in the name of good intentions.

Trusting Him to make every path you take at His behest straight.

Christianity Rose Gold Crowns

Rose Gold Crowns: Women In Leadership

Does the thought of women in leadership make you giddy with excitement or cringe full of dread?

If you’re like me, chances are your answer is along the lines of – it depends.

It depends on your encounters with women.

Nurturing and encouraging, thorny and abrasive, or something in between, your everyday experience with women in general will inform your view of them in a leadership capacity. After all, leadership only serves to amplify who they already are on a regular basis.

It depends on your encounters with men.

Being a woman in leadership means that you’re likely leading not just fellow women but men as well. There are those who consider women leading men as either a hopeless attempt at equality or an abomination of the modern times. There are those who contend for women leading men with mutual respect and honour between the two. Whichever side of the divide you lie on, probably has something to do with how you’ve seen manhood modeled in relationship to womanhood.

It depends on your beliefs about leadership.

When people feel betrayed by an authority figure –whether male or female – they tend to disregard and/or lash out at every other authority figure that comes their way. It’s astounding how many people have a problem with authority and don’t even know it. But their actions speak loudly concerning the broken state of their hearts. Their contention with leadership is so vast that gender hardly even gets a chance to feature in the equation.

It depends on your experience as a female leader.

If you’ve ever held a leadership position, however big or small, informal or formal, your experience as a female leader will either spur you on, tear you down or give you a sordid mix of the two. Either way, what you choose to carry with you from that encounter will determine how you relate with other women in leadership whether as a fellow leader or as a follower.

It depends on your first encounter with female authority.

If your first introduction to female authority in the home through your mother or a mother-figure was a pleasant one, then you’re likely more inclined to give female authority a shot. However, if your experience left a lot to be desired, then your subconscious default setting towards female authority may be dismissive.

It depends on your subsequent encounters with female authority.

A good foundation needs great walls to go with it. If things started off well at home but hit a snag in school, church or even the workplace, it can dim the light that previously shone bright. One significantly bad encounter can shake even the sturdiest of foundations.

It depends on your encounters with male authority.

Whether they diminished or downplayed the role of a woman or amplified and encouraged it, they framed female leadership for you through their eyes. By virtue of their position of authority, they have an influence over your beliefs whether they know it or not.

It depends on what your idea of woman is.

Society, culture and even churches have gone out of their way to prescribe who woman should be and put women in their place. Woman does have an identity and she does have her place. But if these are defined through tainted eyes rather than the all-knowing eyes of Christ, then something will be amiss. And a lot has been amiss.

It depends on what your reality of God is.

If you believe God to be a domineering power out to subjugate women for the benefit of men, then there’s no place for women in leadership in your world. If you believe God made women with intent and purpose and can use them in leadership in the present day as He did time and again throughout Biblical times, then women in leadership are astounding to behold not an anomaly to be curtailed.

I don’t know what your idea of woman and women in leadership is. Even as a woman, my revelation and understanding has evolved over the years.

For the better.

I’ve come to embrace woman and women in leadership not as something to be cowered from out of fear or stifled out as a threat, but as a challenge worth accepting and a celebration worth having.

Rose gold crowns.

It’s what I think women in leadership are.

It’s what I’ll be talking about at the end of every month.