The perfect image of confidence is what Jesus looked like as he stood boldly in front of those that followed Him and said,
John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no [zoe] life in you. (AMIV)
It says further in John 6:66-68 that from that time many of his disciples were no longer associated with Him. After that, Jesus turned to His twelve and said, "Will you also go away" but Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom will we go? You have the rhema words of eternal life."
This is someone who not only knows his convictions, but is also not afraid to stand in them. When you deal with all the need in your life, you can stand in strong conviction and you will not move away from what God has told you to do.
You will not be afraid to say the truth as it is. Jesus was not afraid to face the Pharisees and say to their faces, "You whitewashed tomb! You are filled with dead man's bones!" However he was also not afraid on the other hand, to say to the woman caught in adultery, "You are forgiven of your sin, go and sin no more."
He said it like it was. He was not afraid to open his mouth and tell the truth. Now consider yourself as you sit in a group or a fellowship. Are you really confident enough to say what you think? Even when you know that you will not get the response that you want?
If you are not secure in yourself, every word you speak, every message you bring and every meeting you have, you dance around the point, trying to pick out the right words and smooth things over.
You try to pour oil on troubled waters, trying to make everyone happy and everything nice and easy.
Do you know what? I do not want to make everything nice! I do not want to make everyone happy. I want to make them uncomfortable. I want to shake them and take them and rattle the foundation of the Church until everyone's teeth starts to shake!
I want the Church to start seeing the truth as God sees it and not the pretty paintings and the plastered walls that have become so popular.
Getting a Reaction
I want to shake the Church so much that the plaster drops off the wall. So that the children of God can rise up and not be swayed by every wind of doctrine. However until you have the courage to stand up and say the truth, nothing will change.
If you are afraid - what will happen? You will keep smoothing it over. You will be afraid that others will not like it.
Well... that is the idea! You know, I do not want you to like what I say.
I do not want you to think that what I have to say is nice. No! I want to challenge you and I want to anger you. I want you to throw something at me and say, "You are annoying me."
Praise the Lord! I am getting a reaction! If I am not getting a reaction, then I am not doing my job properly.
People follow leaders like that. We see ordinary people like the "girl next door" every day. No one is following a person like that.
Be Louder Than the Others
So tell me again, what sets you apart? If you have the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said, then you are louder than the others. You will shine more than others. You might get shot down a few times, but for everyone that shoots you down, another ten will follow.
Sure, not everyone will follow. Sorry to bring you some reality there. Not everyone in this world will say, "Wow! What a great man or woman of God." There are a lot of people who like the plastered walls, white washing and stained glass windows.
However for every one that likes the stained glass windows, there are ten others saying, "I am sick of things the way they are." Until someone has the courage to stand up, the Church will stay the way it is.
We need leaders in the Body of Christ who are secure in themselves and do not have neediness. We need leaders like Jesus, who after hundreds of years of the Pharisees being in control and putting burdens on God's people, could stand up and remove those burdens from them.
Sure, He got a lot of rejection. So much so that they put Him on a cross, put thorns on His head and pierced Him in the side. But look at us today. Even today the Church of God continues to thrive. Every minute of every day, the Church continues to grow. He has reached so many from that single act of love.
Deal With It! Rejection Will Come
Rejection is going to come. Deal with it! Not everyone in this world is going to be nice to you or love your message. That is life.
You see if you do not have that desperate need for everyone to accept you, not only will moments like that have no effect on you, but you can stop long enough to see where they are coming from. You will be able to love as Jesus loved and to die for them as Jesus died for them.
When you are secure in yourself as Jesus was, you do not care who follows and who does not. Jesus did not care that the Pharisees wanted to wring the life out of Him. When all those disciples up and left Him after He challenged them about drinking His blood, He was so secure in Himself, He could turn to the twelve and ask them if they were going to leave as well.
It reminds me of when Elijah told Elisha to remain behind while he made his journey up the hill. His attitude was, "If you want to come along, fine, but do not do me any favors. Whether you join me or not, it does not matter, because I am going! However, if you do decide to come along, then you will certainly reap the rewards."
Don't Just Accept Anyone
Jesus had such confidence that He continually challenged those that came to him so much that at times He even purposefully pushed them away. And so in this way He tested His disciples.
He did not just take on anyone that came to Him. In fact He spent a full night in prayer in the presence of the Father before He chose His twelve disciples.
Not everyone that called Jesus "Master" was immediately chosen to be a part of the twelve. You see in the Scripture how Jesus tested those that came to Him. When James and John came and said to Him, "Master, show us where you stay" Jesus said, "Let me show you where I stay."
However there were others that came saying the same thing and Jesus responded by saying, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." (Matt 8:20) In other words, "Go away. I do not have any place for you to come."
Jesus was very selective in who He accepted into His team. Why? He was confident and because of that, He could hear the voice of the Father as clear as a pin dropping in the spirit.
If you do not have this kind of confidence, you will have people following you and becoming a part of your team who will end up tearing you down and destroying the vision God has given to you.
If you are so desperate to have people like you and like your vision, there will always be at least one person who agrees with everything that you say.
However is this the kind of person that should be on your team? Is this the kind of person that God wants to be on your team?
You will always get someone that likes you and compliments every message you preach. They will say how much they are applying what you teach to their lives and you are tempted to think, "This is a team leader in the making! This is someone who loves me and appreciates what God has put into me."
Finding Your Mighty Men
Do they really? Everyone also appreciated what Jesus had until He started putting pressure on them. Everyone appreciated what David had when he was under Saul and slaying his ten thousands, but where were these people when David was running for his life as Saul hunted him down to kill him?
Did all the dancing women dance after David or did the clan leaders follow him to the cave of Adullam? No, not at all. It is wonderful while you are looking good. Then the praise is heaped on you.
However when the pressure is on, where are they then? The Word says that when David ran to the Cave of Adullam that the outcasts and his family joined him. It was these that became his mighty men.
David was not needy. It was clear that whoever wanted to follow him had to believe in what God had given to him and they had to pay a price. If they wanted to be a part of his mighty men, they had to pay the price.
In the same way you should also have the same attitude. Do not just accept anyone. Do you know what happens when you start to get this attitude? You start to become extremely valuable.
This is one of the greatest mistakes so many leaders make. Just because someone is so nice to you and complimenting you all of the time - you think they are wonderful. Yes, they said that of Jesus too as He rode into Jerusalem. In unison they sang, "Hosanna, blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord."
A short while later that same crowd was singing a different heavy metal tune that went along the lines of, "Crucify Him!"
What Kind of Team Do You Want?
What kind of team do you want? Do you have a very clear picture of what you want from your team? When you are secure in yourself, not only do you have a clear picture of what you want, but you are also not afraid to make demands.
You are not afraid to test them to see if they are really the kind of team member that you want as a part of your vision. I already showed you that you need to know where you are going and what you are going to do when you get there. With this in mind, you should have a clear picture then of the kind of people you will need to participate in this vision.
When someone comes along that does not even come close to what God has given to you, but always says what you want to hear, are you swayed by this? If you make them a part of your team just because they flatter you, you will not accomplish your vision in the end.
What is the point of moving forward? Is it not to do what God has told you to do? If so, then you better look for the kind of people that will help you get there. Do not be afraid to say that "this" is what I expect from my team.
Do not just accept anyone. Jesus did not accept just anyone to be part of the twelve and even when He selected them He took His time. He did not say, "Anyone can come and live with me." He tested everyone that followed Him again and again.
Then even after the twelve were chosen He continued to test them some more! Jesus was not afraid to put pressure on them. Do you think that was unreasonable? If so, take a good look at what happened after Jesus was resurrected.
A church was born on the Day of Pentecost as Peter stood in boldness. In a single day the Lord ushered 3000 men alone into the Kingdom of God! From that point the Church was added to daily.
The Right Man for the Job
How was this possible? It is because Jesus chose the right man for the job. He put the pressure on Peter more than all the others. Peter failed the Lord gloriously and even in that Jesus was testing him.
Each time Peter passed those tests he continued to push through. As a result he became the kind of man that started a move that brought the Church into the glory that continues even today.
Jesus did not choose any old guy who flattered him and called him, "Master." There were many of those.
Be selective and do not be afraid to test. Ask yourself, "Do I really want this person as a part of my team?" Because when they do become a part of your team, you will give them everything you have.
You will be giving them your time, your vision and even your very life. Before they are accepted as a part of your team, they should be prepared to pay the same price as you were.
Jesus looked at his disciples and knew He would die for them. He said to them "Unless you are prepared to forsake mother and father and all you own for me, you are not qualified to be my disciples."
Do you think you have it tough? Jesus was clear about what He expected from His twelve and His demands were high. He called them to give up their family, lands and all possessions. (Mark 10:29) How did Peter respond? He said, "We have given up all these things to follow you."
Jesus responded and said, "Yes and become of this you will receive a hundred times and will inherit everlasting life (Matt 19:29)" (AMIV)