Listen with Your Heart: Godly Leadership, Part 1

September 4, 2018
Terence Chatmon

Leaders will, at one point or another, face conflict. It doesn’t matter where you lead —at home, at church, at the office —the very nature of taking a stand and forging a path puts you in the line of fire. Even so, living in harmony with the brethren is a clear command in Scripture – Romans 12:16.

We cannot forget, though, that leadership involves working and dealing productively with people—people who are both passionately loved by God and at different places in their spiritual journey—even in times of conflict.  In order to work productively and guide our brothers and sisters into harmony, we must learn to listen with a God-softened heart.

In 25 Ways to Win with People, my friend John Maxwell lists listening with your heart as one of the key principles, and uses a surprising Bible account in Acts as an example.

Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:36-41)

There are two wonderful listening lessons here:

Listening with your heart doesn’t necessarily require compromise or concession.

Barnabas came to Paul with what he thought was the right thing to do pertaining to the missionary team they needed to assemble. But Paul in his heart disagreed. Both of them were mighty men of God with strong callings and strong wills. They discussed the matter, and as the Bible says, had sharp contention. They parted ways.

We don’t know the particulars of that conversation, and who said what to whom, but reading Paul’s beautiful letter to the Romans later in his ministry, I wonder if this conversation informed his advice.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” (Romans 12:3-5, 9-12)

Since Paul and Barnabas were both being led by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we can be safe to conclude that the weighty decisions they both were making were keeping them in God’s will. One of the byproducts of this decision were dual missionary teams working in harmony both independently and interdependently, and the Kingdom was expanded because of it.

Listening with your heart means you follow His leadership

When you listen to God, you will often find that the only way up is down—down on your knees asking God to align his heart with yours. It is in this posture of humility that transformational leaders really begin to take shape.  The heart testing that happens in private times of prayer enables the true leader to be decisive in those high pressure moments, because they have the rudder of the Spirit of God guiding them.

When you make a hard decision with your head only, you will struggle to see more than two outcomes: being right or being wrong. When you let a submitted heart guide you in the hard decisions, then the outcomes are innumerable, because you are trusting in the divine will of God who leads you. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that in a man’s heart He plans his ways, but the Lord orders his steps. I want to always be one who keeps my heart submitted to the Lord in prayer so that my plans are always in line with His.

Join me on the journey, friend. Align your heart with His and then listen with it, so He can transform the world around you through you. Lead others into harmony by always keeping your heart in harmony with His.

Want to know more about our mission at EQUIP? Help us equip new believers all over the world with biblical leadership.


Terence Chatmon Equip John MaxwellAbout the Author: Terence Chatmon serves as president of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Leadership Foundation, which mobilizes Christian leaders around the world to share the transforming power of the Gospel. Before this role, he was president and CEO of another global non-profit, and he also held a number of senior executive leadership roles in large enterprises including The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson and Citicorp.





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11 replies on “This is SO Important: a Short Devotional from Daniel Fusco”

He wonderful message. In light of all we do when we get busy and hurrying around worrying about things I may not be so important. We forget that love is the answer.says:

He wonderful message. In light of all we do when we get busy and hurrying around worrying about things I may not be so important. We forget that love is the answer.

This word of encouragement couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Thank you Jesus

May God continue to bless you I know I was extremely inspired with faith and love through this reading.

I received the Lighting The Way Home Family Bible from a very dear friend of mine for my 76th Birthday. She knows that I love Thomas Kinkade art work and that the Bible is a very important part of my life. This is a treasure to me and is beautiful. Daniel Fusco’s short message is important and will be printed and inserted in my Bible. I do not believe in accidents, I believe God’s hand is on our lives and blesses us with beautiful gifts. This Bible is truly a blessing.

Thank God for using you to send me this very important message. While I was stuck in the relationship with my kid, I forgot what really maters is “Love”,and love only.

I felt ashamed for blaming my child and urging to make must-to-do lists for her.
But now,I am so thankful. Wondering how lucky I am to be loved by God the Father.

All we need is love.

This is so me. I needed this. I’m participating in our church fast we do at the beginning of ea he year and this one has been a struggle. Thank you for this message.

Yes, indeed you are a great teacher. Your devotional word touched my life this morning. I pray that I will deepen my relationship with God this 2021. I wished you could visit our church in Africa one of these days with this great teaching. God bless you man of God. Continue the good work

Yes, sometimes we tends to get involved into the worldly things. But we totally forget what John said he started by saying “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. John also spoke about God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son …..

Lord please fill me with your love and love for all people please let my motivations and decisions aligns with yours. Thank you God for everything.

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