Affirming Those We Lead

One of our personal favorites of Jesus’ leadership qualities was that He affirmed those under His authority. He said to His disciples in the upper room, those who were closest to Him,
 
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you (John 15:15-16).
 
What a statement! He affirmed them by calling them friends and emphasizing that He chose them. He then spoke blessing over them, telling them that He chose them for a valuable purpose and calling. He believed with all of His heart that they would succeed in this calling. He then gave them a promise saying that whatever they asked God for in His name, they would receive it! The exciting thing for us as believers is, He was also speaking this over you and me! Jesus believed in His disciples, and He believes in us just as much today because we are also His disciples called to do His will in the earth.
 
What profound value this example of Christ has to bring God’s love and unity into our homes today! Friend, whoever you lead, one of the most basic, yet important, keys to guiding them to become a success in life is to affirm that you are thankful they are in your life. Then let them know you believe in them, you believe in their future, and you are committed to them. When spouses do this with each other and parents do this with children consistently in their home, it completely transforms a family.
 
I remember once as a teenager telling my mother about someone who had just found out that they were adopted. The person’s parents evidently didn’t know how to tell him, so they never did, until one day when he was a teenager and he found out another way. When I shared this with my mom, she made the comment that as a parent adoption is not any different than having a baby born to you, so she wished people would just explain this to their kids when they were little.
 
She then told me a story about one of my siblings who is adopted. She said that when very young, she simply said, “There are three ways that someone can become part of a family. First, you can choose a spouse and marry into a family. That is how I became a part of our family. I chose your Dad and he chose me, and we became a family. Second, you can be born into a family. That means a mom has a baby grow in her tummy and after nine months of being in the mom’s tummy the baby comes out. Sometimes if a mom can’t take care of her baby, she will let a couple adopt the baby because she wants the baby to have a wonderful life with a mom and a dad. That is the third way you can become a part of a family is to be adopted into a family. That means that a mom and dad want to have a child to love of their very own, so they go and choose the baby that they want to be part of their family. That is how you became part of our family. Daddy and I chose you because we wanted you to be part of our family so much, just like Daddy and I chose each other!”
 
I was amazed at the wisdom in her explaining it this way. I used to work with a woman who explained this in a similar way to her daughter who had been adopted. She said her daughter would come to her every few months and say, “Mommy, tell me the story again about how you and Daddy chose me!” It is important to let children know the truth at a young age so that the emphasis can be placed on the important information. They are chosen, loved, and wanted in the position they have in the family! That is essentially what Jesus was saying to His disciples. I love you! I wanted you as my disciples! I believe in you! I am confident you are going to be a success even after I am gone!
 
This is pretty amazing when you consider the disciples He had chosen. They didn’t come from any special background, and they didn’t have a theology degree. There was nothing extraordinary about them except that they were willing to be vessels for God to work through. For this reason, they did mighty things to advance God’s kingdom here on earth. Jesus seemed to receive great joy over making something great out of people society considered common. As we have heard our pastor say, “God is a champion at making a somebody out of a nobody.”
 
We have this same ability Jesus operated in within our own home. We can make a difference to those closest to us by believing in them, no matter what. Showing confidence in someone does amazing things. Shaun often says that when we believe enough in someone’s success, they will eventually become a success. We can change the whole environment in our home just by showing approval and confidence in our family members!
 
It is rewarding to see someone who was doing average or below average in life with no real goals for their future suddenly experience someone who believes in them. It typically changes everything! Most people like to live up to their leaders’ or loved ones’ expectations when they are spoken to with love and belief. Children and adults standards are raised when they know someone has positive expectancy over them. Hearing things like:
 

You can do it! I know you can!

I believe in you! You are going to do great!

Way to go! You did a great job!

I am so pleased with you!

Thank you for doing your best!
 
God’s grace manifested in us can and will give us the ability and knowledge to be an encourager to our family and to others we lead. Being an encourager is not a personality type, but rather it is a choice. Even if you have not been one to verbalize encouragement and approval to those around you, know that God can help you do this! Although it had not been Shaun’s “personality” to be an encourager of others when he was young, as an adult he saw the value in this behavior and determined to learn this good quality. With God’s help he trained himself to do this and is now an excellent encourager to others. If you would like to grow in this area, you can even pray this right now:
 
Father, I ask You to help me see the best in my family and those I lead. Please help me to voice approval of them and belief in them on a daily basis. I pray that they will experience my love and Your love through me each day in a tangible way. In Jesus name, amen
 
In Love, 
Pastors Shaun & Amy