In the Lead Like Jesus Encounter leadership workshop, the heart is the first of the Four Domains we discuss to be aware of what makes a leader. Understanding the role of the heart involves an in depth awareness of the importance of motives: “Effective leadership starts on the inside — it’s a heart issue. If you don’t get the heart right, then nothing will make you a leader like Jesus.”
Protection and purity of the heart is essential for those in leadership. If we want to be spiritually healthy, with God’s blessings over our lives and ministries, we must participate in a spiritual heart check. This involves seeking out and maintaining spiritual accountability. Without it, we can become hard-hearted and calloused toward God and life lessons. Or we might believe satan’s lies and become deceived to not believe God. When this happens, we might even fall away from following the living God. Our hearts become tough toward God and our ability to hear God’s voice decreases. The result: our spiritual senses are dulled as our heart chases after sin. We begin to desire things, allow impure thoughts and eventually act out in behaviors we despise all because we haven’t checked our hearts.
Two Major Mistakes
In 2006, Ted Haggard was the most influential evangelical in the nation. He was president of the National Association of Evangelicals, pastor of a Colorado mega church, writer and speaker. What most people didn’t know was that Pastor Ted Haggard struggled with the internal turmoil of homosexuality. His actions revealed his true belief system.
In his letter of dismissal to his church, Pastor Ted Haggard wrote: “When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.”
Pastor Ted made two major mistakes: First, he wasn’t honest; he didn’t take time for confession and personal accountability. Second, he wouldn’t admit that his actions revealed his heart.
How’s Your Heart Today?
Allowing another trusted Godly believer to speak into our lives can be a spiritual life saver. It’s time for the body of Christ to trust one another, for us each to let a person into a place of vulnerability and risk, to be gut level honest.
If we ponder what Scripture says to do to keep our hearts pure, it will be thrilling to focus on the positive: what we can do, instead of what we are told not to do.
Philippians 4:8 is a great guideline: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
We have a choice each day as we “keep our hearts set on the things above.” It helps to know someone might ask you, “How’s your heart today?”
What the Bible Says About Heart
Jesus taught it’s what comes out of a person’s heart that makes them unclean. The human heart can be part of evil things: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:21-22)
When the Bible talks about the heart, 32 percent of the verses talk about the personality or soul. Another 20 percent of the verses refer to the center of emotions, with 25 percent leaning toward intellectual activity and 23 percent referring to the decision-making part of a person’s life (or the will.)
Are you surprised? Me too! The heart is much more than the “seat” of our emotions. Although the “heart” can be broken, Scripture also indicates that the heart imagines, considers, meditates, pours out and aches. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” And Deuteronomy 4:39 says, “Therefore know this day and consider it in our heart that the Lord himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath, there is no other.”
As we apply the principles of the Encounter, and choose to “Exalt God Only,” we might pray Scriptures such as:
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
“I will praise you; O Lord, with my whole heart.” (Psalm 9:1)
“Teach me Thy ways; O Lord, I will walk in Thy truth. Unite my heart to fear Thy name.” (Psalm 86:11, KJV)
In Psalm 51, King David humbly submitted himself to God; he sought to know these hidden beliefs of the heart and asked God to reveal them to him.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
Leadership begins with the heart. A willing heart is necessary to allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us into the image of God’s Son. A submitted heart is a prerequisite to lead like Jesus with humility and God-grounded confidence.
How’s your heart today?
*This article was originally written for Lead Like Jesus and published on www.LeadLikeJesus.com. It is reprinted with their permission.*