The Forward Looking Leader

Effective leaders typically have a strong dose of self-confidence. They are filled with the “can do” spirit and are optimistic about the future. Occasionally, you will discover a leader who has overdosed on confidence and ventures into the land of the egotistical and arrogant. While this type of leader will gain some impressive successes, it  will often be short-lived because they are short-sighted. Paul portrays that healthy blend between confidence and humility when he writes to the Philippian church.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

Premature Celebration

We have all witnessed that athlete who celebrates too early and too long. While he is engulfed in his own glory, the other team takes advantage of the moment and pulls out the ultimate victory.  An effective leader is not ashamed of his achievements but is never satisfied until the end goal is accomplished.

As we look back in time at Paul we are impressed. No one other than Christ, Himself, has done so much to change the face of the world. Even in his day, Paul had the reputation of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Yet we never discover Paul gloating or satisfied. He was always hungering for more.

Effective Evaluation

Low level leaders will typically arrive at a place of contentment but not the contentment Paul describes in Philippians 4:11. Low level leaders are not simply content with their progress they are content with what they have achieved and expect nothing more. They have the good enough mentality. In other words, they considered themselves to have apprehended or arrived. They feel that they have achieved their maximum potential.

The effective leader may take stock of his achievements but he will not dwell on them and never takes his eye off of the future. Paul goes so far as to say that he forgets those things which are behind him. He will not be deterred by his past failures nor satisfied with prior accomplishments. Leaders like Paul refuse to live in yesterday. Their today is always working towards tomorrow.

While there is great value in your achievements, there is greater value in your vision for things to come. Learn from the past, live in the present and look to the future.

Focused Priorities

How important was this to Paul? You might say that it was of singular importance. He labeled it as this one thing I do. It was a focal point for him. It was the solitary principle around which all of his priorities were formed. Your church, business, organization and even your personal life should be driven by future expectations.

Paul was always looking towards the finish line. He saw the trophy at the end. He was constantly reaching and pressing and pushing himself towards that goal. It was a high calling. May I suggest to you that whatever your profession is, your highest calling is in glorifying God. Christ Jesus should have the preeminence in your business, your personal life and most certainly your church. You cannot fail when you are striving towards that end. One day reality will come into sharp focus and our perspective will be enlightened. Then we will recall those words: Tis one life, will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.

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