Philippians 3:1-6 (MSG)
1 And that's about it, friends. Be glad in God! I don't mind repeating what I have written in earlier letters, and I hope you don't mind hearing it again. Better safe than sorry-so here goes. 2 Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they're interested in is appearances-knife-happy circumcisers, I call them. 3 The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ's praise as we do it. We couldn't carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it- 4 even though we can list what many might think are impressive credentials. You know my pedigree: 5 a legitimate birth, circumcised on the eighth day; an Israelite from the elite tribe of Benjamin; a strict and devout adherent to God's law; 6 a fiery defender of the purity of my religion, even to the point of persecuting Christians; a meticulous observer of everything set down in God's law Book.
Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, "No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined." Paul was a focused, dedicated and disciplined follower of Christ. He was also one who was keenly aware of his past and the transformation process that Christ had brought to his life. Paul was a leader because he recognized that everything he had gained was nothing compared to what Christ had done for him.
I was reminded by the teacher and spiritual guide, Parker Palmer how Nelson Mandela took 30 years in prison to prepare himself for leadership rather than for despair.
"He went down, and he went in, and he dealt with the violence and terror, and he emerged a leader of amazing strength able to lead people toward "our complex and inexplicable caring for each other."
How is Christ transforming your life? How is he helping you to go deep and deal with your shadow side? True leaders in the Body of Christ are those who have allowed Christ to bring change and transformation. Saint Francis spells out transformational leadership in his prayer:
Lord make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Think about it.
Parker Palmer, Leading from Within: Reflections on Spirituality and Leadership (Washington, DC: Potter's House Book Service), 7.
Quoted in Uncommon Prayers, Ed. by Cecil Hunt (Greenwich, CT: Seabury Press, 1955), 107.