Today we celebrate Freedom Day… a day on which we remember the painful reality that it is human nature to deny and take away the freedom of others, and yet, it is also in our nature to fight and struggle for our freedom. We acknowledge how far we have come as a nation, and how far we still need to go. We confess that we stand idly by while there are many in our nation and our world who are not free – who are prisoners of poverty, of abuse, of violence, of fear and of hatred. We commit ourselves again to the fight against injustice and pray that God would help us continue and embody the work of Jesus who came to bring liberation to the captives (Luke 4:18).
Jesus said that if he frees us, we will be really free (John 8:36) and so, on this day when we celebrate freedom and remember what it cost to fight for freedom in our nation, we also remember the cost of the true freedom Jesus offers us. It is only in Him that we can be truly liberated – from fear, from condemnation, from shame, from oppression, from seeking value and fulfilment anywhere other than from Him. He set us free from the captivity of self, pride and law. He freed us from death. He invites us to live in His freedom – a freedom that cost Him His life – and to bring His emancipating Kingdom into our sphere of influence. He invites us to be agents of love and liberation in the world.
“For to be free is not merely to cast of one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
Leadership is a hot topic at the moment – and true leadership is something that seems to be increasingly rare in our world. We are facing a crisis of leadership and, as John Maxwell puts it, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” It is easy for us to criticise others or to be disappointed by those in leadership – sometimes justifiably –but I wonder how often we ask ourselves whether we are living up to our leadership potential? How are we continually growing and developing as leaders?
In last year’s Global Leadership Summit – an annual leadership event that is one of the best tools I know to hone my leadership skills, there was one session, by Craig Groeschel, in which he spoke about expanding our leadership capacity, and it really challenged me to think about the ways I am currently working on getting better as a leader. We all have more capacity to become the people God intends for us to be. We serve a limitless God for Whom all things are possible and Scripture reminds us that He is able to do “exceedingly, abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). The next part of this verse is very significant… it continues to say, “according to His power at work in us.” God wants to do exceedingly more than we can contemplate in us.
So how are you growing your leadership capacity right now? How are you working your character, your skills, increasing your knowledge, growing in areas of weakness, dealing with issues of confidence or seeking out mentorship. God has more He wants to do in us and through us, so how are making more room for Him? How are we committing ourselves to becoming the leaders God wants and needs us to be?