We spend our lives thinking about many things. But how often do we think about how and why we think? I am reading a book these past few days which has really stimulated my thinking and challenged the way I see much of what surrounds me these days. Al Mohler’s The Conviction to Lead is a book that really reflects the depth and breadth of life that this man has lived, and the incredible amount that he has been able to accomplish is such a relatively short time.
As I read Mohler’s discussion of the key components of effective leadership, I can’t help but notice the utter absence of it in the world that surrounds me. Mohler explains that effective leadership is rooted in an active, passionate and convictional approach to life. You don’t have to look very far to see that there are not very many people who live this way.
People in our time often live for things that cloud and limit their perspective rather than expand and deepen it. Self satisfaction, laziness, selfish ambition, entertainment, personal desire are just a handful of the things which commonly drive us. Notice that these are all things that cause the person to focus on the “here and now” rather than pushing them to reexamine their lives, expand their perspective, and develop honest conviction in the major challenges and questions that they face.
It is in our nature as humans to do everything for our worldviews, except to think about them¹. We would rather take a more passive, less critical path of settling for what seems to fit in our life, and go with the flow of our surroundings. We think that it is easier and less complicate to simply live with a perspective of life that doesn’t extend to far beyond that which fits in our own personal bubble.
But this is completely contradictory to how we approach any other important aspect of our lives. Its also the reason behind many of the shipwrecks of life that we see all around. Does a doctor learn surgery on the fly? Does the president crack open the political science textbooks after he gets elected to office? Does a pilot log into Flight Simulator for the first time a few hours before his first flight? The absurdity of these examples should cause us to see the absurdity of approaching the big questions of life from a narrow minded, “hear and now” approach.
Personally, these past few years, my own life has been through some revolutionary changes in these areas as I have collided head on with the biblical gospel. The very nature of the christian faith pushes the individual to see the big picture of life, to understand the story that brings it all together. I had never seen it that way, until I was forced to answer the question, “Do I really believe this stuff?”. As I wrestled with these questions, I started to see that the message of the Bible addresses the key questions of life on a number of levels unlike any other worldview system that I had seen before.
The gospel story is a message that is profoundly penetrating and riveting. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, you have the opportunity unlike any other to dig down deep in the things that you believe and live for. You have an opportunity to live powerfully in a culture that seems to be passionate about very little. You have an opportunity to show them that there is so much more to life than their personal bubble.
If you are a person who rejects the Bible and christianity, here is an opportunity to ask yourself why. Have you taken time to develop honest and thorough conviction in the foundational questions of life? What is the solid rock on which you stand? Does your understanding of these questions power you through every day? Or do you live with a mindset that minimizes their importance and focuses on things that will, only temporarily, distract you?
(1) Paraphrase of words of Thomas Sowell, quoted in Mohler, R. (2012). The conviction to lead: 25 principles for leadership that matters (p. 44). Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House.