There are three keys to leadership from a biblical perspective:
These keys also happen to be listed in Galatians 5 as three of the nine “fruit of the spirit” Fruit of the spirit is “The nine visible attributes of a true Christian life” These are the outward manifestations of a solid inner spiritual walk with our heavenly Father.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
In each of our lives there have undoubtedly been people who exhibited these principles toward us. Likewise we can show people the same.
The first principle we will look at is Longsuffering:
- Long Suffering
Long suffering is patience. It is bearing one another’s burdens. It may mean praying for someone, being there for someone, or even just listening. There are many great examples of this in my life. I have been allowed to grow in many categories as I was shown this patience and love.
Ephesians 4:2-3 – With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In order to have someone’s abilities, we also have to learn to accept their shortcomings.
Colossians 1:11 – Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
God strengthens us with patience and longsuffering and we can have joy as we live that principle.
Longsuffering is a renewed mind principle. It may not always feel natural, but it is an attitude that we can develop.
Gentleness means to have integrity and moral goodness as written in this context. It also means kindness or usefulness.
Gentleness is what leads a person to change. God’s gentleness allows us to change and grow naturally. This is also how we lead people, with a kind attitude.
This is what made the tremendous King David so great.
II Samuel 22:36-37 – Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip
David was known for being a great warrior and leader for God but it was God’s gentleness that made David humble and courageous.
We should lead as David did, with unwavering courage, but a gentle heart.
I and II Timothy are leadership epistles. II Timothy 2:24 reminds us for whom we speak and the attitude which we show to others. Paul is reminding Timothy of this principle:
II Timothy 2:24 – And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
The word “servant” in this verse is doulōs which is someone who has made the choice to serve God, a willing servant.
One of the requirements of being a leader and a servant of God is that we are gentle and understanding, as well as apt to teach.
Temperance is another word for self-control. This is a great key as a leader because anything that a leader does is amplified.
What do I mean by that? Let’s take for instance the President of the United States.
When the president does something good, it’s all people talk about. It is even more obvious when a negative decision is announced and is discussed ad nauseam by our news media. Choices a president makes are amplified because those choices affect the people that a president is responsible for leading. In the case of a US president, that is hundreds of millions of people.
Likewise, we have a responsibility to keep our lives in check and exercise self-control or temperance. We may not be leading a country, but we are called to lead God’s people; which is an even greater responsibility when it comes to the grand scheme of eternity.
The discipline of self is possibly the most difficult of disciplines. This is because the nature of the world would have us doing the opposite. The environment around us subtly tries to influence us to drift apart from God and the greatness of His Word. It is our job to keep ourselves in check.
I Corinthians 9:25 – And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
This life is not only a physical competition at times, but a spiritual one. Every day we are in this world we have the ability to win spiritually.
Think of how much discipline it takes to be an Olympic athlete.
It means daily discipline in their eating habits, exercise, thoughts, and even who they associate with. Olympians generally don’t practice their sport with non-Olympians… simply because they will instinctively drop their game to match those around them. If they want to win, they need to be around people who challenge them to win.
Likewise we should choose our association wisely. If we spend the bulk of our time around people who oppose God and His ways we will instinctively begin to think the same way. In this regard it takes much effort and temperance to surround ourselves with Godly people.
II Timothy 2:22 – Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
We are not only encouraged to avoid….but to FLEE youthful lusts. This is not only referring to the sexual category (although that is the connotation) it also refers to desires for material possessions and other potential distractions as well.
Anything that is a distraction from our walk with God falls into this category.
The benefits of keeping ourselves disciplined are eternal rewards and an incorruptible crown (as in I Corinthians 9:25 from earlier)
Temperance is one of the fruit (or evidences) of the spirit that is exhibited as we walk with our heavenly Father each day.
In this teaching we looked at Longsuffering which is patience. In order to have someone’s positive qualities we sometimes need to accept their shortcomings.
Next we looked at Gentleness which is kindness and love shown toward others. We can have the courage of David but also the gentleness and humility that made him great.
Temperance is self control. In order to be able to lead others we need to be accountable to ourselves and to those we lead. This means that we are the same person behind closed doors as we are in public. A great leader is a transparent leader.
With these qualities, or fruit of the spirit in mind, we can continue to walk in the position that God has called us to, as sons and daughters, earning eternal rewards with Him.
God Bless You!
From a teaching given in January of 2010 [brackets indicate my comments] All scriptures from the KJV version of the Bible unless noted otherwise