For us to lead lives of significance and impact as godly men and women, we must first be able to lead ourselves. Let us not attempt to lead anyone anywhere without at first tackling the huge task of self-leadership. To lead yourself which is another term for self-mastery or self-control, you must first know Who you are and Whose you are. Secondly, you must become very aware of and in control of what happens in your head and in your heart. If you cannot control your thoughts and are oblivious to what is going on inside of your heart, you will not be able to lead yourself to accomplish your God given dreams and goals, much less make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
In 2 Cor. 10:5, we are instructed to LEAD our own thoughts. We are instructed to lead and to take every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ. This means that this something WE must do for OURSELVES. No one can control my own thoughts except me. Not God. Not the devil. The devil can send or place a thought, but it is under our power, realm and control as to whether or not to allow that thought to rest and take root in our minds. Where our minds go the body follows. Where our minds go our emotions follow. Where our minds go our actions follow. Don’t expect to be in a position to lead anyone else if you can’t even lead yourself in your own thinking or control your own thoughts.
NIV: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
AMP: [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
MSG: We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
Note all the things WE have to do:
- We demolish arguments
- We demolish pretensions
- We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
- We refute arguments, theories, reasoning’s, proud & lofty things
- We LEAD every thought and purpose away captive
- We smash warped philosophies
- We tear down barriers against the truth
- We fit every loose thought, emotion & impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ
- We use our tools to clear every obstruction
- We build lives of obedience into maturity.
Look at all we get to do! It doesn’t say God demolishes arguments. It didn’t say God refutes arguments. It doesn’t say that God takes captive. We must do these things.
However, we have help according to Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. We also have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Not only that, we can do all things in life through Christ who strengthens us (see Phil 4:13). He can help us with our thought life that is, if we really want Him too. There is the old saying that the church mothers used to say: “Jesus can keep you…if you want to be kept…”
The second area of self leadership is the heart. Once something gets into your head and into your thought life long enough, it will show up in your heart. Oftentimes we do not know what is in hearts until we are tested. We are totally “un” self-aware, until something happens and we wonder why we have such a strong emotional response. We wonder where that anger, that agitation, that angst, that weird feeling comes from.
It comes from being thoughts that were never taken captive thus creating stronghold, which eventually got into your heart. This can be good or bad, but for the most part, they are bad. Negative mindset equals a negative heart. The power source of your life comes from your heart:
NIV: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
AMP: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
MSG: Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.
Your life doesn’t start in your head. It starts in your heart. So it stands to reason that if you are not aware of what is going on in your heart, you will not be aware of the causes and effects of certain things going on in your life. A person who is unaware of their heart will: 1) blame others for their mess 2) moan and groan about their lot. But they do not realize that it is their heart condition that got them in the situation. If your life is flowing from your heart, than the fruit of your life will indicate the nature or the condition of your heart.
Women who do not keep watch over their hearts will hand it over in a hand basket to the first man that says sweet words. Our hearts are broken, torn, wounded and battered because we do not guard them. There is a difference between guarding your heart and shutting it down all together. You cannot shut it down or you will shut down your life force, but at the same time you are commanded by God to guard it with vigilance. What does it mean to be vigilant over your heart?
Vigilant is defined as watchfulness, keenly watchful to detect danger; ever alert. Diligence is defined careful and persistent work; effort, constant and earnest effort, attentive care, heedfulness.
So we are to be very watchful, alert, heedful and attentive to who and what we allow into our hearts. What prevents us from doing this? The enemy of our soul works overtime to keep us on a treadmill of busy, busy, busy, so that we are to “busy” to notice the condition of our hearts. We are too “busy” to process emotionally when something happens. It is easier and faster to push it down, cover it up and keep it moving. We’ve got things to do, people to take care of, jobs to go to, a ministry assignment, a good work to do after all. All along, our hearts go silently unchecked.
We are too busy to pray, meditate and study on the scriptures. When we forego doing this, we are also deliberately choosing to deny ourselves of the opportunity for a heart check. We deny ourselves the opportunity of a heart cleansing. We deny ourselves the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to clean and stabilize our hearts. Then with our unchecked, unclean and unprepared hearts we rush full steam ahead into a lifestyle where were impact and influence others with the word of our mouths.
NIV: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
AMP: The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.
Our mouths will show forth what our hearts are full of at any given time. If we expect to lead in our homes, in our churches, on our jobs and within the community we cannot afford to let our hearts go unchecked. This is a key component of true self-leadership. Leading from the heart can be very dangerous if you do not know what is in your heart or if your heart is not clean. Our heart cry should be Create in me a Clean Heart Oh God and Renew a Right Spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)!
How does stuff get in your heart? Stuff enters into our hearts through:
- Our Eyes
- Our Ears
- Our Head/Thoughts
- Our own mouths!
When you speak and meditate the word of God you are hearing the word of God and speaking the Word of God and it gets into your head and into your heart. When you speak and meditate on a lie, a deception, a fantasy, something that makes you mad, sad, angry, upset, discouraged and depressed then that too will make its way into your heart. When you watch and listen to unclean language, unclean images, and other junk on TV, then that gets into your heart too. We have so many opportunities to sully our hearts on a daily basis. But Jesus is here to wash our hearts with His Word.
It is a battle! It is a battle! No battle worth winning is ever easy, but it is well worth it. Having a spirit controlled thought life and a clean heart positions you for greater increase, greater use by God and greater impact for His Kingdom because you can be trusted with God’s treasures, secrets, mysteries and wealth. With the help of the Holy Spirit you can govern your thought live and guard your heart for His glory. Until Next Time, Remain Blessed.
Image Source: http://www.thecommunitarian.org/content/herd-heard-three-elements-self-leadership – Collegiate EmPowerment’s Jack Gottlieb