Week 51, Day 1 - Humility

"I am raising up the Babylonians that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor" - Habakkuk 1:6-7.

Jesus is the model for leadership and all other leaders are measured according to His standard of behaviorand found lacking. In today's passage, the Lord Himself announced that the Babylonians were instruments He was using, even though they were feared and dreaded because they were a rebellious and prideful people. The Lord would eventually evaluate and judge them according to His own standards and they like all others were woefully inadequate as leaders. The lesson for us today is this: Just because the Lord chooses leaders does not mean He endorses their leadership decisions or philosophy. They will be judged by one standard of righteousness that is best explained, revealed, and described in the person, actions, and humble attitude of Jesus the Messiah.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to settle that Jesus is your role model for your leadership style. What were the characteristics of Jesus' leadership style from your point of view? Are those traits present in your own life and leadership? For additional help, you may wish to read Philippians 2, which beautifully sets forth Jesus' humble leadership behaviors and attitude. Then set some goals that will enable you to develop those same characteristics.

Week 46, Day 1 - Humility

"For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" - 1 John 2:16-17.

It can be difficult to keep an eye on the eternal when the temporary is all around, pressing in and demanding attention and energy. Leaders can get caught up in the urgency of life and the exhilaration of power, for they are important people in their world who have command over workers and resources. They can become accustomed to their own importance, losing track of the transient nature of their power and existence. For that not to happen, leaders must humble themselves and stay focused on the fact that they will not lead and live forever, all the while storing up treasures in heaven by using their power and resources to do God's will, help people, and perform meaningful work.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to determine where your treasure isin the here or the hereafter. Are you mindful that your days are numbered, both in your current position and in your days on earth? What are you doing to build a godly legacy that will outlive you and maybe even other's memory of you? Are you caught up in the excitement of power or grounded in the humility of your limitations? Is your inspiration the boastful pride of this life or the lasting joy of eternal life?

Week 41, Day 1 - Humility

“'Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,' says the Lord Almighty. 'Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name,  the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves'" - Malachi 4:1-2.

It is possible to live a life full of pride or to restrict pride to certain areas, like finances, professional accomplishments, or relationships. No matter the frequency, amount, or application, today's verse states that there is a day of reckoning for every proud person. Yet there is a promise for the un-proud or humble person in the next verse, for those who revere God's name will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. Leaders must especially guard against pride, for they have access to money and power that can make them smug and confident in their own intellectual and leadership skills. When they cross the line to pride, God can and will become personally involved to humble and even humiliate them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to read Daniel 4 and see what happened when Nebuchadnezzar refused to humble himself and acknowledge God. Note that the king had a dream about a tree and today's verse refers to roots and branches - God literally fulfilled the promise He made in Malachi 4:1. After reading, ask God to show you any area of life where you are proud and quickly humble yourself, remembering that God will do it for you if you refuse.

Week 36, Day 1 - Humility

 "No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another" - Psalm 75:6-7.

Today's passage states that it is God who is the source of all promotion and demotion. There is nothing wrong with planning a career, but it can become a problem when ego, conceit, or ambition take over and make it a ruthless or unrelenting pursuit of the next promotion, better office, or bigger payday. Of course, promotion is generally into leadership positions, and when leadership is sought simply as the next step on the career ladder, the pursuit often lacks a godly focus or understanding, and can easily be driven by pride. Leaders and aspiring leaders would do well to humble themselves by preparing to become leaders but trusting the process and the timetable to the ultimate Career Coach—the Lord Himself.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to examine your motives for wanting to be a leader. Is it for the money, prestige, or power, or is it born from a desire to serve and make an impact through influence and empowering others? Perhaps the best test is your reaction to times when you are overlooked for a promotion or when you may actually be demoted. Did you feel hurt and slighted, or did you thank God, trusting in His perspective and will for your life and career?

Week 31, Day 1 - Humility

 "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves" - Galatians 6:3.

Humility is not denying the truth of who you are, which is actually false humility. Humility is having an accurate assessment of who you are and what you can do, and pride is the opposite of humility because it carries an inflated or exaggerated perspective and evaluation of one's importance or abilities. Leaders need appropriate humility, which not only includes admitting who they are not and their dependence on God, but also recognizes and confesses who they are, what gifts and strengths they bring to a team, and the real impact of their work. It never glorifies God for any leader to act or pretend like they are nothing when God has gifted and called them to be a person of significance and influence.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to determine if you suffer from false humility, which is denying who you are and what you do well so you can appear to be humble. What do you do when someone compliments you? Do you deny the truth of what they are saying, or can you simply say, "Thank you"? Can you admit you are good at some things without feeling guilty? Can you talk about your gifts without feeling self-conscious? If you answer yes, then you have healthy humility.

Week 26, Day 1- Humility

"It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel" - Deuteronomy 17:19-20.

These words of Moses were directed to the future kings of Israel, who were admonished to follow the words and laws of the Lord just like all the other people. They were not to consider themselves superior to their followers, and thus exempt from morality and integrity just because they were leaders. A philosopher once said, "There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it," which means that somehow the leadership title makes the person with the title special or above others. Leaders must not see themselves in a class all by themselves because then they may act like it, and the results are always negative and harmful.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you have this attitude that as the leader you have special rights? The only special rights are those that help you do your job. So if a corner office helps you do your job, then it is warranted. Otherwise it is a leadership perk. The same applies to a reserved parking space, special food, or a private bathroom, just to name a few. Your Step today is to do a 'perk' review and eliminate those that came from or lead to an elite leadership mentality.

Week 21 Day 1 - Humility

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty
hand, that he may lift you up in due time" - 1 Peter 5:6.

A humble leader stands out because there are so few in the marketplace since leaders and emerging leaders become competitive and aggressive, seeking notoriety and power as they move up the organizational ladder. Today's verse urges everyone, even leaders, to put their promotions and honors in God's hands while they humble themselves. When they do, God will promote them according to His will and timetable and not theirs. This frees leaders to serve others and not use them as stepping stones for leadership career promotions.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How do you feel when someone else with whom you work closely is promoted or honored? If you can rejoice with them and celebrate, you have truly put your own career in God's hands. If you are envious or become depressed, you are not humbling yourself. The best way to avoid this is to initiate the process of recognizing others for their work and contributions. Find someone this week to honor for his or her work in a way that is meaningful for that person.

Week 16 Day 1 - Humility

"For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted" - Matthew 23:12.

To get ahead, leaders often have to promote themselves. Once promoted, leaders can begin to believe they deserve the honor and perks that come with being a leader. When the honor doesn't come, leaders can begin to seek it and resent those who don't give it. (The story of Haman in the book of Esther is a good [or bad] example of this.) To stay grounded in humility, leaders must realize and remind themselves that first and foremost, promotion comes from God alone. Then they must realize they are successful because they are part of a team. They are unquestionably important team members, but nonetheless not indispensable or worthy of all the credit when things go as planned.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today consider whether you are self-promoting or well grounded in a team mentality. Think of one thing you can do to honor and thank those who are on your team. It may be a handwritten note, a verbal thank you, or some token of your appreciation. These acts will serve to do what Jesus said in today's versethey will keep you humble and prevent you from promoting your own role in your team or expecting, maybe even demanding, that your team honor you.

Week 11 Day 1 - Humility

"Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor" - Proverbs 18:12.

Leaders are often accorded honor, but it can be 'heady wine,' so to speak, and give them an inflated sense of importance and a big head. When leaders start to believe they have earned their honor, they can be upset when they don't receive the honor they think they deserve. This can cause leaders to do what they do to get attention and honor, and consequently their activities have an ulterior motive beyond serving others and their organizations. The only biblical road to honor is humility along with a proper perspective that the most important honor comes from the Lord.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you need to do a heart reality check to see if you have begun to expect honor. Do you feel slighted or hurt when bypassed for certain recognition and praise? When is the last time you honored someone else and said thank you? Think of ways in your organization (or your family) to honor others for their contributions, thus assuring you will stay humble and esteem others above yourself. How about a special award to recognize outstanding attitude or service, even in your family or school?

W6D1 - Humility

"The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
    Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished" - Proverbs 16:5.

Pride in leadership is a blinding force, causing leaders to believe anything good that's happened is because of them and them alone. When they believe they can replicate what they have done anywhere at any time, it turns into something called hubris. Hubris says, "Whatever I or we want to do, it is a guaranteed success, because I am or we are special!" Pride is bad enough, but hubris sends God a special invitation to get involved and thwart any hubris-inspired project from succeeding. When that happens, the proud are punished for their arrogance.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Step involves a pride/hubris check to insure you have not crossed over into this dangerous territory. The antidote for pride is humility and that is an attitude you must cultivate to prevent pride from morphing into hubris. The check is simple: how often do you thank God for your success? And then, how do you express your thanks to others, without whom you would be and do nothing? Regularly saying thank you is a great check against pride.