John of the Cross (1542) and I share a birthday. We were both born on January 24th. We are not twins, I was born almost 400 years after he was, but, we are brothers in our spiritual journey although we are on opposite sides of theology and practice.
John of the Cross coined two phrases that have great meaning to leaders. he spoke about something he called “spiritual gluttony“, a condition where God is merely a means to fulfill my desire to experience warm feelings and spiritual energy. John saw this as a temptation to all Christians, and taught that God will actually withdraw good feelings from us to help us grow.
Leaders run the risk of focusing so intently on the leadership role and problems that they just assume that God will bless them for the “good” they are doing. We often take His blessings for granted because we are “serving” Him. We become “spiritual gluttons” with no personal appreciation and no public acknowledgement of God. The very fact that we can be called “leaders” is a blessing from God. We experience His grace and mercy every day. The announcement of that truth should be a part of our daily leadership role.
The “dark night of the soul“, which has come to be used by many people for any experience of suffering, actually has a very focused meaning for John. It is the season in which God withdraws comfort and emotional ease for a purpose which is good, but which we may not understand. For a leader, it may mean a period of tough issues or disappointments or even reversals. Every leader experiences them. Could John be right? Could God be trying to get my attention?
So, wonder if John is right? What should we do anyway:
1. Learn to practice 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18, thanking God for everything.
2. When things go bad, first check your relationship with God. Worry more about what He things than what others think.
3. Do whatever you do for His glory! Be honest about it. 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17,23