The standards required of spiritual warriors are much different than the standards of ordinary people. The common practice among Christians today is to drag yourself to church on Sunday morning and then live in turmoil the rest of the week. For the spiritual warrior, though it is different. We know that the chosen life is about much more than going to church for an hour a week and then walking out the door and forgetting about it for another week.
In 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 it says, “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
The bible mentions about four hundred people who were given leadership roles. The amazing thing about that, though, is only about 25 percent or 100 of them finished their lives in the will of God. Most were not obedient to His will and failed to fulfill God’s plan.
Today, we’re going to focus on the ones who did it. The ones who lived successfully and committed to a lifetime of spiritual growth. If you plan to live a life like these people did then you need to use Jesus as your example. Luke said the following about Jesus: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52) Like Jesus, commit to a lifetime of development and achievement.
The apostle Paul was a lifelong learner and it’s no coincidence that his example was Jesus. He told the Philippians that even though he was well-educated and had the best teachers when he was young, he had not yet attained the spiritual and eternal truths that he sought. Paul’s desire to learn more was strong even at the end of life while in prison. In 2 Timothy 4:13 (NIV), he writes: “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” Just, to clarify, Paul was asking Timothy to bring him his “scrolls” which were books and “parchments” which were the Scriptures. He wanted to continue to read, learn, and stay encouraged.
During Paul’s ministry, he wrote a lot about leadership which is the role many spiritual warriors will find themselves in. Some of his writing gave instruction about what leaders should or shouldn’t do. He taught young pastors that their life should be the models for all. Paul knew that any good Christian leader is involved with spiritual warfare. Some of his writings instructed Christians:
- Not to take leaders and their support for granted.
- To give leaders respect.
- To honor their God-given authority.
In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul shows what a Christian spiritual warrior should look like. Always look at the fruit of someone’s life and not just their words. It’s not a title. Paul believed if a Christian followed his advice outlined in verses 1–2, which says: “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Then they would finish their life on earth according to God’s plan.
What can you do to insure your spiritual growth?
Continue to learn. Many people who consider themselves good Christians have never even read their bible or maybe have read through it once. The leaders who most impact the world are lifelong learners.
Develop a passion to improve and commitment to increase your knowledge. To increase your knowledge do all of the following:
- Read great books.
- Watch great videos.
- Listen in church.
- Read your Bible.
Christian Leadership Requires Accountability
You must develop accountability. In society leadership qualifications are not always taken seriously and it shows through the lack of trust in our elected officials.
Paul discusses accountability in 1 Corinthians 4:1. it says: “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” Servants are accountable and as a Christian that means you too are accountable. The word regard in verse 1 means to “reckon” or “account.”. In Paul’s time it meant “to calculate,” “to number,” or “to be precise.” The verb form means “to put together in one’s mind various calculations.”
The life of a Christian should be one of accountability. Paul believed that being accountable is an obligation for everyone. Unfortunately many leaders live and lead without being accountable. This includes many churches. Let’s use the example of bookkeepers and accountants. A bookkeeper keeps track of financial transactions and an accountant inspects financial records and makes reports.
A financial audit can make or break the future of an organization. Bookkeepers and accountants make sure the books of a business or a ministry are balanced and accurate. Being unwilling to be audited will cause many problems. People won’t trust an organization that hides its finances and it could cause an organization to stop functioning. Being accountable is expected.
It’s the same way with the individual. In chapter 4 Paul is telling the Corinthians that Christians are to be open books and that they need to be held accountable for their actions. Obviously, they need to be accountable to God but also to other Christians and everyone else in the world. If a Christian is not accountable then their life will be out of balance and they will miss out on God’s plan.
Jesus is the only servant-leader who had a perfect record. Everyone else has character defects that can include past mistakes, weaknesses, fears and sins. If these issues remain hidden and unmanaged they cause believers to fall. When accountability is made a priority, there will be a continual blessing and success in God’s plans.
Accountability is essential in all relationships for a successful Christian life. In 1 Corinthians 3–4 Paul discusses the importance of accountability .He uses 4 examples:
- Relationship between masters and servants (3:5).
- Relationship between a father and son (4:14).
- Relationship between co-workers (3:9).
- The farmer and soil relationship (3:6).
As a Christian leader you must remember that you are always accountable. Whether at school, home , work, or with friends you need to realize that you are accountable. Real spiritual power comes when:you accept that accountability to others is good. This will cause your life to begin bearing fruit from that accountability. As God’s chosen, consistent and meaningful accountability leads to a balanced life. The people God places in your life deserve this kind of example.
Christian Leadership Requires Service
In 1 Corinthians 4: Paul teaches about service. In 1 Corinthians 4:1 it says: “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” The word that Paul uses for servant also means “minister.”
The word also has several other meanings, including attendants and slaves. The original use of the word was to describe galley slaves on a ship. Their job was to row the oars in the galley of the ship. This was the lowest part of a ship and they were there all day. A galley slave had the most menial job on the ship and the conditions were harsh. The word servant eventually came to mean anyone under the authority of another.
Paul makes it clear that Christian leaders are to be “servant” leaders. In 1 Corinthians 14:40: it says, “But everything should be in a fitting and orderly way.” The church needs organization and God has given offices and titles for people to lead. The strength of leadership in any Christian organization does not come with a title though it comes with a passion to serve others.
Who is the servant leader responsible too? Paul says that we should serve all people, remembering that we are servants “of Christ” (4:1). We can think of ourselves as the galley slaves of Christ, always doing His will.
We grow as leaders when we provide service to others and therefore change lives. Practice being present in the lives’ of other people. Be there for them, listen to them, share the word with them and let the Holy Spirit guide your response to them.
Just like slaves who row a boat in the lowest parts of a ship, living as a chosen one is hard but it serves the most important purpose a person can have in this life. It was why He created you and chose you. You are designed for this, with all of the tools you need.
You must learn to serve God before you can serve people. You must become a servant-leader. Jesus showed us the perfect example of servant-leadership in John 13:1-20 where He washed the disciples’ feet.
Christ-like servant leaders do the following:
- Serve others in a spirit of love. (vv. 1–2).
- Are secure enough in God to help others (v. 3).
- Serve people. (vv. 4–5).
- Allow people to serve you. (vv. 6–7).
- Don’t let anything interfere in your relationship with Jesus (vv. 8–9).
- Keep yourself spiritually clean (vv. 10-11).
- Be an example (vv. 12–15).
- Be blessed (vv. 16–17).
- Don’t live by the world’s beliefs. (vv.18–19).
Don’t try to force the issue though. Forcing people to accept our way of life will backfire. You don’t have to win an argument or persuade them, just plant a seed, knowing that He is in control. Use the example of Jesus. Have a servant’s heart to influence others for God.
Michael at R2W
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