Today we are going to discuss the traits needed to be used by God. Psalm 78:72(NIV) says: “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
Every leader has an obligation to make a positive difference in society but many times a leader does not rise to face the challenge. When this happens everyone loses. It is usually because they have not prepared their hearts to serve.
Leadership skills are essential and must be learned and developed. It’s important for you to learn and develop into a leader before actually leading anyone. The first step in this process is to examine your heart with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is important because a leader with a wrong heart can be dangerous and destructive. A quick look at our society should be evidence of the damage that can be done by a leader with wrong motives.
A heart committed to God is essential to Christian leadership but a good heart does not automatically produce an effective leader. You can have a Christ-like heart and still not be an effective leader. I know many people in my own life who love God but are not effective leaders at their jobs or in their homes. In fact our churches are filled with these people every Sunday. There must be a desire to make a difference.
So here are the traits you must learn and develop in order to grow into the leader that God intended you to be:
You must understand your purpose.
1 Corinthians 12:4–7 (NIV): There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Leaders who are used by God discover their purpose in life. I like to refer to that as your life vision. It’s the job God gave you to do while here on Earth. It’s your assignment. Think of an airplane flying from New York to LA, it is off course most of the time. This doesn’t prevent it from reaching its destination though. Throughout the flight, the pilot continues to make small adjustments and eventually they land at their destination. Think of your life the same way. You have to be constantly making small changes and adjustments in your own life to keep yourself on the course God has planned for you.
Learning to do this will help you to grow toward your maximum potential. It will help you to sow seeds that will benefit others. Remember your God-given vision is not about you at all but about those you can help. This can be a painful lesson to some who have always thought that life was just about them.
Knowing your purpose is essential to effective leadership because God works differently in everybody’s life to make His will known. Be aware that He will use both brokenness and an awareness of your own spiritual gifts:to reveal your purpose.
Many people don’t realize that God will use your biggest failures, greatest defeats, biggest pain as a way to reach other people. This will cause you to fully surrender to the love and care of Jesus. You will begin to see the world through His eyes and see others the way God sees them, allowing a burden to develop to lead the broken of the world.
Don’t fear brokenness, it shows your relationship with God is growing. With it, you will develop urgency about needs in the lives of people. God doesn’t allow brokenness in your life to cause you harm but He knows that it is necessary in a broken world in order to develop a vision to make an eternal difference.
Finding God’s plan for you will show you a specific need that requires personal involvement. Some clues to figuring out what it is can be found in your ministry strengths and gifts. Remember that God doesn’t make junk.
Understanding your purpose will allow God to place you where you can use your gifts for His glory. When you use God given strengths in kingdom work you will experience fulfillment. and you will perform to your greatest effectiveness. You will also love what you do in spite of struggles and demands. Most importantly, you will get the job done, because you are operating under His power.
To help clarify your purpose, I recommend asking yourself these questions:
- What bothers you about our society/world?
- What are your spiritual gifts?
- What are your passions?
- What are your talents?
- What are your dreams and visions?
- What opportunities do you see?
- What do people recognize about or within you?
You must be able to get through and overcome the difficulties in life.
Hebrews 12:1–2 (NIV): Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You need to develop your character and integrity. We live in a fallen world and we are sinful by our very natures. Character and integrity don’t just develop in this environment. It takes effort, commitment and a dependence on God.
Developing these critical traits is at the core of self-leadership. Take responsibility for your own life and others will follow you. There aren’t many people doing this in our world today, therefore you will be a beacon of hope for the lost. It will be like a lighthouse shining a light into the darkness. People will naturally be drawn to you.
Character adds certain benefits to your walk with God and your journey to help others that you would never experience without working on this vital trait. Character reveals credibility, gains respect, causes consistency and builds trust.
To develop strong character you must work hard. Our world tries to tear down people’s character. Keep this in mind as you work on yourself. In order to assure victory, anchor your own character to the character of Jesus.
Begin by developing self-discipline. Learn to exercise and eat right. If you can’t overcome the cookie in the cabinet how will you overcome an evil world? Work on developing your identity in Jesus Don’t simply adopt your best friend or spouse’s identity; develop your own. This comes by faith and learning to trust God. Stand by your convictions. Get to a point where if you were ever put on trial for your beliefs there would be enough evidence to find you guilty of following Jesus. Develop your values. What do you stand for? Most people I meet have no idea. You need to know so that when you are confronted by a situation that challenges you, you won’t be swayed.
You must be born again.
Allow your old self to pass away. This is really the only true path to freedom. When you do this all things become new. You begin to develop a desire to be like Jesus. Learn to surrender your heart and life fully. Remember that surrender equals victory. This allows The Holy Spirit to take control. His thoughts become our thoughts; His values our values; His choices our choices; His priorities our priorities.
Our personalities are shaped by life’s experiences. Some of these experiences are good and some are bad. We can’t be swayed by hurtful people or experiences. We must Interact with a hurtful, hostile world. We are not called to hide out until Jesus returns. Actually we are called to do the exact opposite. We are called to be lights in the darkness.
Learn to use the difficult times to your advantage. They help to smooth the rough edges of our lives. Difficult situations shape us in God’s image. Difficult places give us trust in His direction. Challenges give us confidence in His faithfulness. The battles that we face make us stronger.
A sculptor was looking at a large piece of marble when he was asked what he planned to create from the rough stone. He replied that he intended to produce an angel. He was asked how he would do this. The master craftsman replied, “Simply remove everything that is not part of an angel.”
God is working in your life to remove everything from your character that is not like Jesus. Freedom comes from giving Him everything for spiritual growth.
What are you willing to surrender?
Michael at R2W
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