Feed Passion, Test Submission

Leaders learn deeper submission through passion-motivated endurance.

Feed passion in emerging leaders. Let passion be the motivating impetus of their leadership. Feeding passion does not produce rebellion or pride. Feeding passion without confronting rebellion and pride will result in train wreck, but passion isn’t the problem nor does passion produce the problem. Passion will help you identify the problem because it will test submission.

Make Decision, Solve Problems

Yes, passion is messy, and feeding passion will result in messy mistakes. But feed passion and use the mistakes as opportunities to mature passionate leaders.

The alternative pretty much stinks. At some point, killing passion, the emerging leaders stop being leaders at all.

When an emerging leader makes a mess, help clean it up. Feed passion and use the messes to mature problem solving. Since leadership is basically about making decisions and solving problems, feeding passion motivates emerging leaders to mature in both sides of their leadership development.

If you are making all the decisions, micromanaging their leadership, they are not learning leadership. If you are solving all the problems, micromanaging their leadership, they are not maturing leadership. If you make decisions and leave them to clean up your messes, they are not leading. If you clean up the messes for them, they are not maturing their leadership.

To the extent an emerging leader is making decisions and solving problems, he leads. That is the measuring stick of his leadership, the level of leadership at which he is actually functioning.

“Make Them Follow!”

How often people with a desire to lead fall into the expectation that leadership is a title bestowed up them that creates a circumstance in which others must do what they say. I’ve run onto this syndrome a thousand times: The desire to be seen as a leader and the mistaken notion that the title will be enough.

Of course, people don’t follow a leader because they have a title. So, when this level of leadership fails, as it will inevitably, the entitled leader comes back to demand that you make people follow them.

“People need to be told to follow me,” they say. “These people don’t seem to be getting it! I’m the leader but they aren’t following me. Make them follow.”

Entitlement thinking conceives a poor concept of leadership. The key to understanding this poor leadership thinking comes from observing the poor job people with entitlement thinking have done in following leadership themselves.

That is, you will discover a fault line in following in people who demand that you force others to follow them. They didn’t learn to lead by following, so they have a misconception about leadership: “the only way I would follow was to be forced to follow, so I’m sure others will need to be forced to follow me.”

They will bark orders but blame others when the decisions they make don’t work out. They will demand that someone else clean up the mess because it is always someone else’s fault their plans didn’t work. They assume the problem lies in how well people are following orders. This justifies their assumption that the mess isn’t their mess.

The level of immaturity follows entitlement leadership cultures, and Jesus doesn’t function like this nor encourage this kind of leadership in His kingdom.

Jesus Starts with “Follow Me”

I always set a baseline for people with leadership destiny – and that is most people – by seeing how well they follow. When I give them an assignment, and I always function on the basis of assignment, I observe how easily and quickly they turn that assignment into something else or how they follow-through with the assignment to fulfill it.

When people turn the assignment into something else, I know we have a leadership dynamic at work that will eventually produce rebellion. I learned this observing God’s responses to King Saul.

God set a baseline with Saul, gave him opportunity to follow, then made it clear that the fatal flaw of Saul’s leadership was his inability to follow.

The biggest limitation to obedience is not disobedience but lack of submission. Disobedience says, “I ain’t doing that.” Lack of submission will work at obedience but shift the assignment in some way, sometimes very subtly, so that the assignment isn’t fulfilled because the assignment became something else. Submission embraces the purpose; obedience embraces the process.

When an emerging leader accepts the assignment, then turns it into something else, they are failing to submit even while they are crowing about their obedience. And, they will crow about their obedience as a justification for their lack of submission.

Jesus begins with “Follow Me.” He tests submission to measure obedience. Let me say that again, “He tests submission to measure obedience.”

Consider how Judas was obeying Jesus while entertaining betrayal. Jesus knew what was coming in Judas because Judas was already justifying his lack of submission while maintaining his visible display of obedience.

You cannot measure obedience without testing submission. Submission tells you whether or not a person is committed to the purpose of the assignment or using the assignment for his or her own purposes.

Judas Wasn’t the Only One

They all forsook Him and ran away. Yes, but they did so for a different reason from Judas, and Jesus deals with them differently. 

Leaders learn deeper submission through passion-motivated endurance.

The titles don’t make leaders. They identify leadership. Demanding the title as a means of acquiring what it identifies is the very essence of entitlement. The superstition of titles and entitlement can never be more obvious than when the assignment tests submission.

Judas says, “What’s in it for me?” He suffered from the limitation of pure entitlement. Obey to get something. Submit little or nothing to the purpose behind the obedience. Obey to flow in anointing. Submit little or nothing to the purpose for which the anointing flows.

The other disciples maintained submission but wavered on assignment: they were tested in their revelation of the assignment more than their submission to following Jesus. Their hesitation produced their sifting.

Note the words of Jesus: “satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat.” The “you” here is plural. satan is sifting them corporately, sifting the assignment and alignment of the leaders of Jesus’ kingdom. The sifting comes because they have a limited revelation of assignment manifesting as a limitation of action. They remain submitted and obedience. They do not disobey because they have no commandment from Jesus to get themselves killed or to storm the gates and free Him. They are bewildered by this turn of events and sifted by their lack of revelation.

Then, Jesus says, “But Simon Peter, I have prayed for you.” The “you” in this instance is singular. Jesus prayed for a restoring leader. The principle is that sifting the leaders of an assignment brings greater clarity of the assignment as preparation for greater empowerment to fulfill it. When you are sifted personally, you submit to Jesus. When you are sifted corporately, you submit to a leader Jesus has prepared and positioned to restore the assignment.

Judas wasn’t the only one with issues. When Jesus announced that one of them would betray Him, they all asked, “Lord, am I the one?” They knew they lacked something in the area of passion that might betray Him in a pinch. The corporate sifting was coming because the personal sifting revealed a new, deeper level of submission. Judas failed the submission test. The others emerged with greater passion.

Feed passion. Test submission.

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Dr. Don

Dr. Don

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