09 April 2010

Leadership Fridays: Strategic Righteousness

Discussions regarding the idea of righteousness are often associated with what we don't do. This approach is based on the idea that to be righteous is to not lust, be greedy, angry, etc. Something about that shouldn't sit right. The best we can do is to not do... some things? Certainly righteousness is more than that. The change that God desires not inactive, it is productive and proactive. To simply avoid evil and not proactively do good may be the essence of self-righteousness legalism.

This idea from "A Sweet and Bitter Providence" was helpful for me:
"What do a God-saturated man, a God-dependent young woman, and a God-exalting older woman do when they are filled with hope in the sovereign goodness of God? [Referring to Boaz, Ruth and Naomi in Chapter 3 of Ruth] The answer is that they manifest what I am going to call strategic righteousness.

By righteousness I mean a zeal for doing what is good and right - a zeal for doing what is fitting when God is taken into account as sovereign and merciful. By strategic I mean that there is intention, purposefulness, planning. There is a kind of inactive righteousness that simply avoids evil. But strategic righteousness takes the initiative and dreams of how to make things right.

One of the lessons I have learned from this chapter [Chapter 3 of Ruth is that hope helps us dream. Hope helps us think up ways to do good. Hope helps us pursue our ventures with virtue and integrity. It's hopelessness that makes people think that they have to lie and steal and seize illicit pleasures for the moment. But hope, based on the confidence that a sovereign God is for us, gives us a thrilling impulse that I call strategic righteousness."
Now, in my vocabulary, strategic righteousness is just another way of saying leadership. This is what leaders do. As they consider the greatness of God and the sufficiency of the Gospel, their hearts swell into creative, strategic action for the sake of God's glory and the eternal joy of His people.

Has your hope in a sovereign God and his promises in the Gospel stirred in you creative new ideas and initiatives? If so, you are leading. If not... you're not.

Additional Resources
Leadership and the Adventure of Grace (a sermon by C.J. Mahaney - this is a "must listen")


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