Missionary E. Stanley Jones once said:
When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine.”
Spiritual transformation is something that happens deep in the soul part of us. When it happens it is greatly reflected on the outside.
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he prayed that they may “grow in the knowledge of God ….and joyfully giving thanks to the Father.” (Colossians 1:12)
Paul was instructing the Colossian believers, living in a brutal culture yet in a vital relationship with Christ, to not just give thanks but give joyful thanks!
We, as leaders, are in the forefront and in positions of leading others. Leaders create their own climate. They have a presence. In leadership, our attitudes and presence speak louder than our words. The presence of joy in a leader inspires confidence and it is one of the greatest tools of effective leaders.
We all have positives and negatives in our lives. Life brings both. In our world today, there is despairing negativity. Our news channels are continual dispensers of negativity. Attitudes are determined by where we focus our thoughts. Joy and gloom are both contagious and both have impact! What do leaders do?
I have stood in front of a crowd and sensed despair, fear, and worry. The looks on their faces gave away the state of their souls. My job as a leader, with Christ’s life-transforming message, is to bring life, life spirits and help people see a God who is bigger than their circumstances and much bigger than who they are. As a leader, I must be a hope-giver, an encourager, one who sounds that Biblical message that no matter what comes our way, we know the God of Hope is in our circumstances and will fill us with all joy and peace…so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
For many years, we as leaders have been encouraged to be real and authentic so that we can express our emotions in order to connect with our audience. There is some truth to that but there is more to being a leader. Leaders have to consider the impact of their message- and their lives- on others. Lifting an audience is the leaders responsibility and duty. A leader cannot burden an audience with a problem they cannot solve. Nor does a leader want to look for pity? Every leader has to learn to stay up and to encourage herself in the Lord.
Leaders execute joy in their own lives by cultivating the power of Biblical joy. To be joyfully thankful is like swallowing sunshine and is the foundation of effective leadership and influence.