Spiritual Leadership Principle- Purpose (Pt.2)

In Spiritual leadership Principle-Purpose (pt.1) I wrote about how Jonah initially tried to run away from his purpose until God abruptly intervened in his life, which caused Jonah to stop running away and fulfill his calling.

Three reasons why leaders are not purpose driven

Each of us have a purpose however not everyone is living their purpose out on a daily basis. I have found three reasons why a leader done not move in the direction of their God given purpose:

1. Fear- The fear of failure or the unknown future can prevent a person from pursing their purpose. To live a life of purpose requires being outside our comfort zones and not allowing fear to control our actions. One of the best ways to conquer a fear that has the potential to hold you back from your purpose is by taking action. For example, a common fear is public speaking so to take action to overcome that fear a person should consider joining a speaking group like Toastmasters. Move through your fears toward your God given purpose.

2. Low self image- The word self image is defined as “the idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself.” A person who has a low self image will have a difficult time in moving toward their purpose. This is because their perspective or idea of themselves will prevent them from taking the steps required to work in and fulfill their calling. It’s nearly impossible to accomplish great achievements when you have a low self image. To raise our self image make sure you are closely connected to God, founded in the Bible, and are managing your thoughts and self talk.

3. Lack of faith- Faith is a key element to accomplishing our purpose. Hebrews 11: 1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Having faith means we know and hold onto the promises God has given us no matter what we are currently going through in life. Those who lack faith allow their present circumstances to control their life, preventing them from taking the small or daily steps toward their purpose. Faith is about trusting in God and the promises He has given you.

The best response to God’s calling

The story of Jonah is a perfect example of what can happen when we resist or move toward our own plans. God’s shepherding hands will gently direct and guide toward your purpose, just like what happened to Jonah.

So the best response a leader can have to the calling and plans of God is to be obedient in walking toward our purpose. This means when God tells you to “go” or “do” the answer should be yes Lord! The younger you are the better, but it’s never to late to say yes! If you have not yet discovered your purpose I suggest taking time to pray for God’s guidance, find and concentrate on your strengths and passions, and spending time with people of influence.

The potential impact of your purpose

When Jonah stopped running from the calling of God and went to Nineveh. He shared the message of the Lord to the entire city which resulted in the people repenting, glorifying God, and saved the entire city from being destroyed. Leaders who are moving toward their purpose will also see God’s name being expanded and glorified. The greatest reward of a Christian leader has is to see they had a positive impact for the Kingdom of God.

Questions: What have you had to overcome to move toward your purpose? Are you obeying God’s leading toward your purpose?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Fear was the biggest thing I had to overcome. There were many ways I had to overcome fear, but it was even as simple as being afraid of flying…and God calling me to take trips to Europe. You can’t really get to Europe in a time effective way without flying. Had I allowed my fear of flying to dictate my response, I never would have gone on my first trip, never would have met my friend who is a youth pastor in Czech, never would have started leading teams there every year and never would have gone to Romania. I wouldn’t have been walking in my calling or purpose fully.

    • A major fear has lately been hunting me down. At stoplights and in quiet moments, it leaps into my mind and shakes me from any sense of peace. Finally, I had had enpugh. “GOD”, I cried. “Deliver me from my Fear.”

      “Justin,” he whispered. “Grow your Faith.”

      • Growing your faith is huge. I’ve also found that gathering up the courage and doing the thing you’re scared of (in my case, flying) helps you overcome it. After 9 trips to Europe, with easily 30+ flights, I am no longer afraid to fly.

        • I agree with you. Facing your fears can often be key to overcoming them.

          But there are deep, spiritual fears that grow out of a lack of faith or spiritual disconnect or even just the human experience. These are fears that cannot be overcome and must be submitted to the grace and provision of God.

    • I’m glad you moved past your fears and took(still are) action on your purpose/dreams. Your doing great work because of it! Thanks for sharing Jason.

  • Great post, Dan. Q: What’s the greatest leadership book you’ve ever read? A: The Bible. I love the lessons we’re given! A great obstacle for me was not fear or faith or confidebnce but *ignorance*. Without a purpose, I was blindly going down the road, committing myself to anything and everything that came along. With a refined (and written-down) purpose that focuses my strengths and energy on the one or two things God has laid heaviest on my heart, I am finding myself to be more effective and balanced.

    • I agree, the Bible is greatest book a person/leader can read. That’s what a purpose can do, allow you to see what you should and should not be doing. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

  • Fear held me back for years. But it wasn’t fear of public speaking, It was fear of condemnation. Speaking of public speaking, I’ll be starting a podcast series on public speaking on Tuesday at http://www.danerickson.net. When we deal with our fears, our self esteem and faith will also improve.

    • I understand that Dan. Looking forward to your series! Thanks for sharing the link.

  • We all have fears and setbacks. It is how we respond to what happens. Seeing the world through the eyes or wisdom given by God will allow us to lead and pass along the message He’s sent us for. We all have a task like Jonah… but our first tendency is to run like he did. Being made to face fears by my dad and brothers as a kid has given me such a huge advantage in this area. Fear is part of life. Facing it head on is a habit like all others. If a person begins to run from trouble or fear they’ll be running a long time… and for what? Great post, Dan. This is one to ponder.

    • Hello Floyd,

      Great points! Seeing through God’s eyes always give us a proper perspective about life. It’s great you had a father and brother who allowed you to face and move through your fears. I’m sure it was not fun at the time but it sure allowed you to become the person you are today. Thank you for taking the time to add to the conversation.

  • Another reason I’d add to why leaders are not purpose driven is the problem of busyness. Sometimes we think we are just too busy to sit down, evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it and then come up with a purposeful plan. In reality we are probably so busy because our lives are overwhelmed with things that don’t really relate to our purpose but have crept in because of the lack of a clear plan and purpose.

    • Great addition Caleb, busyness sure can get in between us and our true purpose. Thanks for adding to the topic:)

  • DS

    Fear is one of the greatest immobilizers in life. I’ve had to overcome pride from hearing people saying “good job.” The other challenge is the “am I good enough?” question about content, about speaking, about influence. It’s trying to limit the doubt, doing the work, and remembering that it’s not me who’s getting glory, and it shouldn’t be about me.

    • I agree. Fear has the potential to cripple a person. Great point about it being about God getting the glory and not about boosting our ego. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • I had to overcome the fear of “What others would think of me”. I prayed extensively and seek council in order to make major decision and move forward. It was very difficult because you want everyone to like you and what you do, but I realized that its not about that its about actually doing God’s will.

    • Praying and seeking council are some wise ways to move through any fear. Thanks for sharing:)

  • Dave Arnold

    Similar to Lincoln’s response, I’ve had to overcome the fear of what others’ think and of trying to perform well for others to approve, etc. Really, it kept me back from my purpose. I now feel – after manyyears of doing this – that I am living out the “me” God wants me to be. It’s an amazing thing! Great post, Dan.

    • That’s great Dave. What your doing and your passion really show your living out your purpose! Thank you for moving through your fears so you can move toward your purpose, your helping so many people.

      • Dave Arnold

        Thanks Dan!

        • Your welcome, I’m just speaking the truth:)

  • A big influencer too for Jonah’s actions was his lack of love for the people of Nineveh. Loving others is a tremendous motivator!

    • I completely agree, we need to love other like God loves us. Thanks for sharing that point.

  • Thanks for this post Dan, it’s very timely. I’m going through something right now that I definitely need to overcome to get to the purpose the Lord has for my life. The thing I’m realizing is how important support can be in times like these. So if you are struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out, it could be a life-saver for you.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it:) I’ll be praying for you and you know my number in case you want to chat. Great points about reaching out to others!

  • I’m with Dave & Lincoln – have had to move past fear of what other’s think to accomplish my goals. I’m on that path now, and not looking back!

    • I think a lot of people have to deal and move through that fear. Let’s keep moving forward!

  • Bernard Haynes

    Great post Dan. I fallen victim to all three. I have struggled with fear and when you struggle with fear it causes you to have low self esteem and your faith is hindered.

    • Thanks Bernard. I think a lot of other people feel the same way, I know I do at times. I think the key is to keep doing our best and taking steps forward toward our purpose. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Great post, Dan. I have definitely struggled with fear of failure, in part because I don’t feel naturally gifted in some of the areas God has wanted me to minister. It’s been a growing experience! I also need to continually overcome the temptation to do ministry for the wrong motives, to worry too much about other people think, to be too much of a perfectionist, and to spend too much time writing because of that perfectionism. It’s nice to look back and see that I’ve grown, though! God is making progress. :)

    • Thank you Barb:)

      If we want to do anything great for God and His Kingdom we must move through and past our fears. One step at a time though:) Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

  • Mac-faith Zuma

    Wow,great insight. Personally I had to overcome myths about leadership. Thank you for the self-tall concept. I will adopt. Would be great to hear you share more on that concept too.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ll have to work on another post on the same topic. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Do you have a site or blog?