I can’t remember a time in our nation’s history when there has been more talk about the leadership of our government. As leaders within the church we must use some criteria in which to model our leadership style. I always look first to what the Bible has to say and then try to take to heart and apply those timeless principles to my current situation. At such a time as this, I encourage you to heed the advice that comes from scripture about leadership.
“Without wise leadership, a nation is in trouble.” Proverbs 11:14 (LB)
Isn’t that the truth and this truth was, is and will forevermore be true, not only for a nation but for a family, a business and a church. Here is another verse that is so applicable today. “A nation will be strong and endure when it has intelligent, sensible leaders.” Proverbs 28:2 (GN).
God calls all of us to be intelligent and sensible in the way that we lead others in the church. Years ago, at a conference for church pastors I heard John Maxwell say, “Everything rises and falls on leadership. Leadership, simply stated, is influence. As church leaders we have been given the awesome privilege and responsibility to lead and influence the people God has put in our circles. In the church today, we are faced with problems of declining attendance, shrinking financial resources and diminished commitment from our membership.
In times like these it is easy to become stressed, downhearted and as a result vulnerable to physical, emotional and spiritual attack.As leaders today, we face the same trials, temptations and traps that all leaders have previously faced. These are identified in 1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (KJV).
These temptations of the lustful pursuit of sexual passions, financial possessions, and social position have always been with us and are potentially devastating to your person, family and church. In the next few blogs I post I will look at what the Apostle John said about, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life and then offer three Biblical antidotes of integrity, humility and wisdom to break the grip of these traps in our lives.
Since we are all leaders in some form by the influence we have on our families, workplace, community, church, social circles and beyond, hopefully you will find some practical principles to apply to your own life. The Bible has a lot to say about what qualities we are look for in a leader and what leadership qualities God blesses.
When it comes to the issue of the lust of the flesh, God blesses leaders who live with sexual integrity. Does it not astonish you that we continue to hear about leaders and especially church pastors who have fallen for the trap of sexual infidelity. I believe that is because people and especially pastors think they are immune from this sinful infection. Let me give you some advice. Never consider yourself above temptation. Don’t kid yourself. People say, it couldn’t happen to me. That’s just not true. We all need to be aware of how vulnerable we are and then watch out. The Apostle Paul writes, “So be careful if you are thinking, ‘Oh, I’d never behave like that.’ Let this be a warning to you, for you too may fall into sin.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (LB) None of us are invulnerable. None of us are immune. Just when you say, “I’ve conquered that problem,” that’s the day I’m open for temptation.
Integrity comes from the root word integer, meaning whole or together. In mathematics an integer is a whole number that cannot be divided into parts which are themselves whole numbers. Integrity refers to the consistency of character that matches your thoughts, words, values and behavior. Integrity characterizes a life lived with consistency. Integrity of character refers to those internal core values that shape all that a person says and does.
It is that coherence of character that presents a single face to the world. A person of integrity doesn’t change when no one else is looking. Integrity is the foundation of leadership because you can only effectively lead people if they trust you. If you lose people’s trust, you’ve lost it all. That’s why the right to lead is earned, and it’s earned by being trustworthy. The most damaging sin a leader can commit is to betray the trust of his people.