Greetings my Fellow Warriors!
We’ve spent the last couple of months covering the ground of our callings and building a clear and firm foundation of confidence in our hearts and minds that we are women called to action to be a voice and a leader (person of influence) to those around us and throughout the world!
Let’s be honest, Friends…How many of you have found yourself with new trials or facing fear when you made the decision to join EquipHER and the collective voice for the kingdom of God? I know I did.
This is why, great leadership and influence begins and ends with the heart.
This month, we will dive into one of my favorite passages of scripture and find three areas that are at the heart of every great Christian leader. Get ready for a heart check!
In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, we read King Jehoshaphat’s response to the news that armies have surrounded them from every side with a great battle on the horizon. I found great encouragement and tools for navigating the call from these verses. I pray you do too. These are what I believe are critical components that we all must hold fast to in our hearts to be effective leaders and voices for Jesus.
equipHER Woman Have A Prayerful Heart
2 Chronicles 20:1-4 (ESV) After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
The first thing the scripture notes about the King’s behavior is that he was afraid. We get fear, don’t we? We understand what it can feel like, for some, to step out of the background and become a force for community and change. We understand when something is stirring in your spirit and the very thought of it getting out and on paper can grip us with an almost paralysis type response. Frozen. Unqualified. Fearful.
Here is the good news…Fear has no power unless you respond to it with fear. That is what is so important about the story of Jehoshaphat. In his first step as leader, in this critical moment, the King prayed. And it should be our very first response as well. King Jehoshaphat prayed and declared a fast throughout all Judah and Judah assembled, from all the cities, to seek the Lord. ALL CITIES.
As women of influence, you and I can do the same. We can take a deep breath…and we pray. In the midst of the fear. In the midst of the emotional disqualification and paralysis of movement. A Prayerful Heart must be our first component.
equipHER Women Have A Bold and Faithful Heart
As we move through the beginning verses, we come to our second component of a great leader. A Bold and Faithful Heart. King Jehoshaphat was willing to be bold before God and remind Him of His promises to His people and His power to all people, in front of all of Judah in the house of the Lord. Let’s take a look…
2 Chronicles 20:5-9 (ESV) And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’
King Jehoshaphat came boldly before God, standing in His faithfulness to Him, confident that, no matter the circumstances, God would save them. Ladies, we must not be afraid to bring all things before God, being confident that He will meet us, according to His will. There will be times in leading, at whatever capacity He asks you to, that you will be required to stand firm, reminding God of his promises and remain faithful that He will do just what He said he would.
equipHER Women Have a Steadfast Heart
As we lean into these scriptures and allow God to form His truth in the chambers of our hearts, we come to perhaps one of my favorite verses in the Bible. As the story continues and after the Word came, the armies were coming to battle against them, King Jehoshaphat prayed and at the end of his prayer, he says this in verse 20, “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” In some translations, it says, “Our gaze is fixed on you, oh God.”
The King of Judah, not knowing what to do, fixed his gaze. His heart was steadfast.
A Steadfast Heart. It’s our next and necessary component to tie all three of these together. Merriam-Webster defines steadfast as “Very devoted or loyal to a belief. Not changing. Firmly fixed in place.” I write confidently that this is what the King had determined to do. To be immovable, fixing in place his devotion and belief that God was for him, even when he knew not what to do. How often do you find yourself in this place of not having the answers, not knowing the next steps and just maybe, your confidence may be at an all-time low? I understand this so well and our steadfast heart responds with, “I have NO IDEA what to do, Lord, but my heart is steadfast for you and I will keep my gaze fixed on You.”
I will admit, this isn’t always my first response in these type of scenarios. With 20 years in the corporate environment and my whole life in the church, you would think I would have more answers than questions but the truth is simply this…While a competent leader and successful in my field, I am always better and always more confident when I have sought the Lord and kept my gaze fixed on Him first. I have less stress, greater clarity of mind. In that posture, the answer will always come easier and clearer. I believe you are part of this #IamHER movement because you have determined to walk in the same lane, steadfast for the things of God.
Ladies…There are so many more words I want to encourage you with. My hope and prayer is that these scriptures and reflections are prayerfully read and considered in your own hearts and that drives you and your groups to more conversation and more consideration of the Heart of a Great Leader. I leave you with answer to King Jehoshaphat’s prayer.
A prophet of the Lord came to the King with these words…
2 Chronicles 20:15-17 (ESV) “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
And that is exactly what they did.
May it be the same with you. Where you are going, fear can’t follow. It is God’s battle and He has already won!
I’m praying for you this month as you go through the questions and prayerfully consider each one. May we all grow our hearts as great leaders for One who saved us and loves us…for in THAT, others will follow.
Written By Brenda Franklin-Strout