May your ear be attentive and your eyes open: listen to the prayer that your servant is addressing to you today, day and night, for your servants the children of Israel, confessing the sins of the children of Israel, our sins against you ; because I and my father’s house sinned
Many Leaders know how to detect the flaws of others, the origin of their problems without being able to discern what is happening in them. This affects the way they minister. We see this in Luke 18.11-15. The Pharisee, who was supposed to be a man of God, gave thanks to God because he was not like the others. Whereas in truth, he was a sinner like the others. The publican, who was not regarded as such, understood his state of sin. Which of them had understood everything? The Pharisee or the publican? The publican of course.
A leader must be able to discern his flaws, the sins he still commits, in order to be a person who can encourage, edify, protect, deliver others with love. Nehemiah understood it. Let’s re-read chapter 1 and verse 6.
Nehemiah, who is certainly a righteous man, has become part of the sins that the Israelites committed. He did not do as the Pharisee saying, Lord, forgive them and I bless you because I did not sin against you. No ! He acknowledged, not to be better than his brothers.
An authentic Christian leader must be able to discern when he has a problem of pride, hatred, lies, lack of discipline. By recognizing them, he acquires the right attitude, he can exercise his ministry with more empathy, and above all he recognizes that man’s perfection is Jesus. As Hebrews 4: 15-16 tells us, it was Jesus who was tempted in all things and yet did not commit any sin. It is precisely for this reason that he can sympathize with our weaknesses.
If Jesus lived in the flesh, he was tempted without committing sin and thanks to that, he can sympathize with our weaknesses, let alone you, leader, Christian leader. If we seek in the Word, we would find that the greatest were aware of their sinfulness. For example, the apostle Paul said of himself that he was:
• The first sinner (1 Timothy 1.15)
• The least of the apostles (1Corinthians 15.9) when he was powerfully used by God.
• Unable to do what he wanted but did what he did not want to do (Romans 7: 20-22)
In spite of all that he describes of himself and openly confesses, he has been powerfully used by God.
In the verse of the day, Nehemiah does not display his sins, but he identifies with the people. He is aware that he is a sinner like them and that is certainly why God will raise him as leader of the people.
How to become a leader who identifies with others:
1- By being transformed by the Word
It is important especially for the people who serve God in ministry and just as much for those who are in business to read the Bible in order to conform to what it tells us. I remember meeting a woman who absolutely wanted to practice apostolic ministry. The problem is that having found no reference that justifies her desire, she was finding her in books that were not recognized as divinely inspired. The Bible when we read it sincerely to the power to transform ourselves, to edify ourselves, to face our inconsistencies, in the face of our sins. A leader must read the Bible, meditate daily to be constantly renewed, transformed to become the best version of himself.
Practice the word, and do not confine yourself to listening to it, deceiving yourself by false reasoning. For if anyone listens to the word and does not put it into practice, he is like a man who looks in a mirror at his natural face, and who, after looking at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what it was. But he who has plunged his gaze into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and has persevered, not being a forgetful hearer, but putting himself to work, he will be happy in his activity.
2- Having the right environment
Having people who love us for who we are, and who care about our salvation is currently a luxury. As soon as we succeed we are surrounded by a cohort that continues to elevate us. Whether we say nonsense or bless people by our words, some celebrate us.
You must have and if you do not have it, pray to have an environment that loves you and want to see you in heaven. These people will not hesitate to congratulate you when you will do well as they will not hesitate to take you back when you go out of the right way. Good people in our lives, keep us, give us inspired advice, love us, protect us and take us back.
Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the personality of his neighbor.
Lord, help me to remain humble because your word tells us that you give thanks to the humble but you resist the proud. Help me to discern what is wrong with me and my life. Help me to identify with others. In the name of Jesus. Amen!
Extract from the meditation book on “Nehemiah” available in the shop