I have really enjoyed looking at II Timothy and discipleship together with II Corinthians and Biblical leadership. The two go hand in hand. If we would follow God’s Word, we would learn how to disciple others and be good leaders as we do it. You can read article number 5 here. As a recap, here is what we learned in the last article on leadership.
- A good leader is able to forgive and he teaches his followers to do the same.
- A good leader cares for the well being of his followers.
- A good leader is an aroma of the knowledge of Christ everywhere he goes.
- A good leader does not manipulate people with the Word of God.
As we continue, we will now turn the chapter to II Corinthians chapter 3.
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again ? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men ; 3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit ; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
I. A good leader does not brag about himself or seek praise from his followers (1)
Many times leaders are more preoccupied with their public appearance much more than they are with their actual aptitude as leaders. We see this constantly in the world of politics. It is not actually about what you do but how what you do is perceived by the public. For evidence of this, see the presidency of the USA between the years 1992-2000. (and pretty much anyone running for anything these days). We actually pay public relations’ managers to create and maintain certain images for certain people. A good leader who leads God’s people is not worried about creating an image. He is who he is at all times. He is honest and sincere in public and in private. Unfortunately, many leaders today are more interested in the way people think that they are instead of being interested in who they really are. On the other hand, a good leader is not controlled by the followers. Many time, leaders within a church will not stand on what the Bible says because he may upset some of the members. Most leaders do not start leading because they crave the approval of the audience. But, as time goes by, they get used to compliments from making people happy and get dependent on the praise instead of being dependent on God and leading according to His Word. I good litmus test is by listening to a person preach. When you preach, are all the illustrative examples about you and how you live and serve, to the point where you seem to be a superhero Christian and Christ is almost set aside from the equation? You probably do not intend to be the superstar but over and over again that is the way it turns out. That does not mean that you cannot use your own examples but when you do, who comes out as the hero, you or Christ. A good leader depends upon God and God’s opinion of him. He leads according to that opinion so when he has to confront sin, even if it means going against the grain, he does it. He does it with love and looking out for the good of the people but he does based on God’s approval and not the approval of the followers.
II. A good leader’s disciples boast of his efficiency (2-3)
A good leader does not have to brag about himself or his ministry. Why not? His disciples do it for him. As he trusts the Lord and leads according to God’s Word, he will invest his life in making disciples. When there comes time to prove if he has followed God or not, the disciples are living proof of that. Some people in Corinth (as well as some of the false teachers) were questioning Paul’s authenticity as an Apostle and leader. Paul’s response was, “I do not have to say anything on this subject, all of my disciples speak for me and defend me.” A good leader wants to be efficient and he knows the secret to efficiency, trusting in God by following His plan as laid out for us in His Word. As a leader, do you have to defend yourself or do you have disciples whose numbers alone defend you? Many people talk about and teach about discipleship but when asked, “how many disciples do you have?”, the crickets begin to chirp. Your disciples established in God’s Word, living out their faith by making more disciples is the living proof of your leadership. Where are you on this issue?
III. A good leader receives his adequacy (efficiency) from God (4-6)
Here is the secret to success. You must be totally dependent upon God. If you try to lead out of your own wisdom and charisma then you will fail. Your adequacy will be dependent upon yourself and the image that you portray. You have to do all that you can to maintain that image even if it means leading contrary to God’s Word. You will become controlled by people and circumstances instead of by God. On the other hand, when you know that your adequacy comes from God and that in order to be successful you have to depend upon Him and lead according to His Word then leadership will come natural to you. The reason more people do not lead this way is because when it comes time to divide up the glory, they want it all, or a larger portion of it. The man who totally relies on God has to give God all of the glory for his success because all he did was depend on God and follow God’s plan. An adequate leader seeks to serve the people by teaching them the New Covenant which brings life. If a leader tries to do it on his own he will end up leading the people to the law and death. Why? Because that is the way he is being led. The Law says, “here is a line in the sand, now with your own power, toe the line”. Once you toe the line then you say, “Look how good I am and how wonderfully I lead”. The problem is, you cannot maintain the position because of your sin nature. You will fall and great will be that fall. If you live that way then you are walking into death and leading the people with you. If you are being led by God then you walk to live and you will lead the people there as well. So, as a leader, where does your adequacy come from, yourself or God? The answer to this question will be the difference between life and death both for you and your followers. May the Lord help us lead His way.