The Power of Assumptions
I read a study recently on YouVersion about Joshua’s leadership. And, some leadership assumptions he made. You may recall the story – Joshua leads the Israelites into the land of Canaan and they come to the city of Jericho. To take the city – as God had promised the land to the Israelites – Joshua had to rely on God’s faithfulness.
- They marched until nightfall for seven days around the walls of the city
- They blew their trumpets and worshiped God every day
- On that seventh day, the walls of Jericho collapsed
Imagine that sight and the reaction of everyone, both Israelite and Canaanite alike!
Because Joshua and Israelites sought out God’s instruction and faithfully obeyed him, God delivered success to them.
The point? When we rely on God and are obedient to him, success follows. I know, I know, that’s a broad statement and a bit presumptuous, but hear me out. Read the sentence again: When we rely on God and are obedient to him, success follows. The key here, is reliance and obedience.
When we retake control (as I seem to too frequently do), this is not reliance on, nor obedience to God. We can get ahead of ourselves, basing our future expectations on past results. “I got this!”
“This worked for me before, it’ll work for me again!” Ever done/felt/said that? I have, and when I get into this mode, I’m taking my eye off God to focus on the road ahead – MY path.
And sometimes, it’s innocent. Not intended. Just executing a long before agreed upon plan. But we get busy, distracted, or too confident.
- He forgot to include God in the plans
- Joshua assumed that because things had gone so well with Jericho, it’d be a cake walk into Ai
Not so much.
I am grateful I haven’t experienced disaster to this degree, but I do sometimes tend to plow forward in MY plans without a full and thorough reliance on and obedience to God. Thankfully, I manage to redirect my sight and reengage my faith before too much mess is made, but it seems I need constant reminders.
Think of this in your context as a leader. Joshua’s decisions affected thousands. And not just their jobs, but their lives. As a leader in a church – an influencer of the culture of your church – do you sometimes make assumptions on the outcomes of your plans and actions?There is always the potential for danger in assumptions. Particularly if we decide to predict God’s point of view without first actually looking for his input!
How can we avoid assumptions? And what are some ways to recenter our reliance on and obedience to God? Here are a few:
- Be intentional in communicating – journal, invite input, keep notes and never stop asking for guidance
- Be prepared for change – sometimes we get the starting point right, and even maybe the destination, but not always the path
- Be humble – remember, God can sometimes use the strangest circumstances to make breakthrough results; did anyone foresee David slaying Goliath?
- Be inclusive – as leaders, we don’t always have all the right answers
- Be honest – is the right person/people in charge of important initiatives? Do they have the right training, skills and expectations for success? Do you?
In the comments section below, tell me what you feel should be added to this list. And how are you responding to the Power of Assumptions in your setting?