I love studying about leadership. I have heard many messages about leaders and leadership but nothing compares to the simple teachings of the Word of God. St. Paul was an awesome leader because he led according to God’s leadership plan. We have already explored Paul’s leadership skills previous articles. You can read the previous article, number 6, here. The following is a quick recap of that lesson.
- A good leader does not brag about himself or seek praise from his followers.
- A good leader’s disciples boast of his efficiency.
- A good leader receives his adequacy (efficiency) from God
Paul knew how to handle difficult situations caused by difficult people. All leaders will face difficult times caused by difficult people. What was Paul’s secret? It was the message that he taught and preached. The message of the Gospel changed people’s lives and helped difficult people overcome the difficult situations that they, themselves caused. Let’s take a look at the message of the Gospel that a leader must use as he leads the people.
7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory ? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. 12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened ; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart ; 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3)
I. A good leader knows that the message of transformation is not “get religion”.
In order to be an excellent leader, dealing with problematic people, you have to teach them the transforming power of the Word of God. Many times, leaders make a mistake teaching people religion instead of the transforming power of the Word of God. Paul makes a comparison in this passage between those who teach the transforming power of God and those who teach people religion. In order to understand what Paul is teaching, we have to have a little survey of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament or Covenant is part of the first half of the Bible and the twofold purpose of the Old Covenant was to point people to the Messiah revealed in the New Covenant and to show man his complete depravity. The New Covenant does not begin with the Gospel. It actually began with the promise that God made to Eve and then to Adam, that there would be a seed and He would bless the world by dealing with man’s sin problem. This is Jesus Christ. After Adam and Eve, God then formed the Jewish nation through Abraham (a Gentile) and brought forth Jesus Christ through this nation. As the Jewish people awaited the coming of the Messiah, they began to stray and needed guidance, therefore God sent the Law through the Old Covenant to show the people their need for the Messiah and to lead them to Him. When the Messiah came in the person of Jesus Christ, He fulfilled the promises made to Eve and Abraham. He instituted the New Covenant which fulfilled the promises made to Abraham and reinforced in the Old Covenant. If the Old Covenant were used properly, It would lead people to Christ by showing their need for Him and guiding them to Him.
When Paul speaks of Moses, letters engraved on stone, and ministry of condemnation, he is speaking of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant could not save people. All it could do was point out their sin problem and then lead them to the solution, Christ. If you put your faith and trust in the Old Covenant then you are trusting in religion instead of allowing that religion to lead you to God. The Jewish people lost focus and ended up putting their trust in the religion instead of the God of that religion. Many times, leaders end up teaching the rules and regulations of religion instead of teaching them the God of that religion. Why is that? I believe it is because our human nature likes a list of do’s and don’ts because we can make our own when we discover that we cannot keep God’s standards and therefore, we can calm our conscience. Our basis nature stays the same. We are not transformed. We just “get religion” and add that to our daily lives (or weekly in many cases).
This is one of the problems in the Corinthian church that Paul had to address. There were those who wanted to teach religion instead of the transforming power of the Word of God. If you just teach religion to difficult people instead of the Word of God then the difficult people will not be transformed and their problems will just get worse.
As a leader, are you teaching people the message of transformation through the Word of God or “religion”?
II. A good leader knows that the message of transformation comes through the power of the Word of God.
As I wrote earlier, the message is the key. The teaching that is given to the people will determine their destination and destiny. If they are just taught religion then we have seen that they come as they are and remain the same. They get religion but their problems are not solved. On the other hand, when a person is taught the transforming power of the Word of God, everything “changes”. First of all, he is transformed from the inside out. He does not receive a list of rules and regulations to follow. He begins a real relationship with God and his nature is changed. He receives God’s Spirit in him and is transformed on a daily basis to be more like God in thought and action. He is now able to obey God on a daily basis, moment by moment. He now looks at his problems with a new set of eyes, from God’s perspective. He has been born again and is now ready to serve the Lord. He is able to overcome his problems with the Lord’s help.
In conclusion, are you giving the people hope or condemnation? If you teach people “religion” then they are condemned because they come as they are and stay as they are. When you teach people the transforming power of the Word of God then you give them hope, liberty, an open door to a genuine relationship with God. May the Lord help us be good leaders, living by the Word of God, leading by the Word of God, and teaching people the transforming power of the Word of God.