Leadership Lessons Learned in the Desert, Pt.2: “Man Cannot Live On Bread Alone!”

Desert1So… the desert is ultimately a good thing.

The second thing I learned in the desert is that… before entering the desert… my devotional life sucked.  BUT YOU CANNOT LEAD OTHERS, IF YOU DO NOT FEED YOURSELF!  And I’m not talking about preparing messages or Bible studies or discussion material for your small group… or anything like that.  I’m talking about what most people refer to as devotions, or quiet time with God.  However you refer to it, you cannot build a strong inner life (which will always affect, at some point, your outer life) without a serious devotional habit!  Toward the end of my  time pastoring Mosaic… on top ofthe everyday stresses of life… I had gotten so busy with message prep, small group prep, Sunday service layout, training leaders, leading worship… all good stuff… that my devotional life had become – at best – dutiful (not to mention sporadic).  In fact, the time I spent preparing my messages slowly became my time in the Word with God.  I was “listening” to what He wanted me to say to others, but I was too busy to hear Him speak personally to me.  Now, I say that to my shame… not proud of that… but that’s what happens when we get so busy doing “great things for God”, that we fail to pay attention to the great things He wants to do IN US… which come, more than anything else, from spending time with Him in His Word.

The desert is designed for us to depend on God.   It’s rough in the desert!  And life there has a way of pressing you to your knees and to the realization that – without the intervention of God – you’re just not gonna make it!  When the children of Israel were journeying in the desert, God would allow them to hunger and thirst, so that they would learn the importance of depending only on Him for their sustenance and provision.  So, he provided for them something called manna (which basically means, “What in the world is this stuff??”), and He provided it for them daily.  EVERY DAY, they were supposed to get up early in the morning and gather enough manna for the day.  God provided fresh manna daily for the children of Israel, and He wants to provide food for our souls daily, as well.  This is one reason why the desert is important in the life of a leader, because normally – without any intervention – you cannot survive long there.  So, God places us there to learn to follow Him and rely on Him and trust Him to provide for us.  He’s not giving us manna today, but He’s given us something better: Himself.  He wants to sit with us, and mentor us, and grow us… by feeding daily on our manna for today – His Word.

One of the resources that has been a tremendous help to me is Wayne Cordeiro’s Divine Mentor… a book that encourages Christ-followers in the importance of having daily devotions.  This book means SO much to me, that if my place were on fire – and I could only grab my Bible and one other book – Divine Mentor would be the one I’d grab!  SO, shameless plug for my friend… GO PURCHASE HIS BOOK!  🙂

Seriously, though… one thing I’ve learned in this desert experience is that 1) God loves me… 2) He wants to commune regularly with me… 3) and I don’t have the wisdom it takes to do life without Him.  I… NEED… HIMAnd so do you… which is why it is so important to develop a devotional habit… to develop a lifestyle that says, “God… before I listen to anyone else’s advice… I want to hear from You.  I know I can’t make it today without Your wisdom… You see what I cannot see.  You know what I do not know.  Please… guide me today.”

And He will.  Through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Even in the desert.

Especially in the desert. 😉

Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

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One thought on “Leadership Lessons Learned in the Desert, Pt.2: “Man Cannot Live On Bread Alone!”

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