Our efforts to control our lives produce undesirable results. But still we attempt to counterfeit God’s design for our lives through our own efforts. With tenacity we persist in demanding that our way must work. And so we continue to counterfeit the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Deceived, we believe the fruit of the Spirit is merely the best side of humanity. If we try hard enough we can manufacture this fruit consistently in our lives. But living a life that is desperately dependent on Christ necessitates yielding to His Spirit’s movement as we cease endeavoring to produce our own fruit. We are incapable of producing His fruit on our own vines; we can only produce His fruit as we are grafted into His vine.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5 NASB)
Leadership is vital for servants and provides the structure necessary to oppose the sin nature in a manner that would facilitate useful ministry fostering effective service to those in bondage to having things their way. Leadership within its Biblical context is interpersonal and in its true essence is stewardship that has been promoted to management. The leader, using the great tool of a divinely enabled influence, builds spiritual maturity (Christ-likeness) into a soul by a course of speaking the truth in love within the confines of a divinely anointed relationship. The great task of leadership then is to oppose the nature of sin within an individual that would seek to graft themselves into their own make shift vine and then seek to counterfeit the fruit of God’s Spirit while calling it divine.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Eph. 4:14-15 NLT)
Leadership gives time and attention to how this truth is applied in order to mentor a follower into finding Christ relevant to every area of life. Godly leadership paves the way for service to thrive by creating structure that ensures truth and time are available within appropriate limits so as to promote healthy ministry. These three: truth, time, and structure being employed by a servant-leader who desperately seeks the enabling of the Holy Spirit, comprise the foundation for all effective serving and offer to us a Biblical formula for developing Christian maturity.
T + T + S = M
Truth + Time + Structure = Maturity
However when leadership promotes a view of servant-ministry as merely doing some work or completing some action, they cease to emphasize the primary nature of ministry where mature servants of God are being moved by the compulsion of Christ’s grace to interact with others in need of Christ, prompted only by the supreme motive of love.
We as servant-leaders must not lose sight of the everyday process of having a ministering heart as a way of life – ministering within the enabling power of God and manifesting the fruit of His Spirit to all in the sphere of our influence. We must draw from the anointed power of God’s call and compulsion within our lives as mature believers being prompted to seek God’s good pleasure.
Mature Christian service being produced is one of the chief evidences of spiritually mature leadership being present. If we as Christians fail to live out our salvation to its full potential with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13) then we are merely a people performing good deeds. The great loss is that as a Christian people we will not have followed Christ, nor born much fruit that the Father would have been glorified. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:8 NASB).
So what is the primary nature of your service?
How would you describe the prime objective for your serving?
How would you define the supreme motive inspiring you to lead and serve?
(excerpts included from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis)