A new day brings about a new lesson on leadership from the mind and pen of St. Paul. I was pleased to renew my article writing yesterday on this subject so dear to my heart, leadership. It is a privilege for me to share this information with my readers because it causes me to revisit my notes from II Corinthians as well as reevaluate my own leadership tools.
Yesterday we learned that a good leaders . . .
- Does not give up when facing difficult challenges
- Does not sugar coat the Truth
- Does not preach and promote himself, instead, he preaches God’s Word and God’s power
Today, I would like to continue examining II Corinthians 4 to see what new insights we can gain on leadership according to God’s Word via the example of St. Paul.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves ; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed ; perplexed, but not despairing ; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken ; struck down, but not destroyed ; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you. 13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I. A good leader’s life is lived to manifest the goodness of Christ
He is not afraid to face difficult circumstances because he knows that the way that he goes through them victoriously will manifest the power of Jesus Christ in him. He will be an example for those who follow him. As a follower of Christ, he has already died to himself so his desire in life now is to please Christ and openly manifest Him everywhere, in every situation. The best way that he does this is by investing his life in serving others. As people, we are naturally selfish and it is hard for us to think about others instead of ourselves. That is why, as leaders, we must have hearts dedicated to the Lord so that we can deny ourselves and live for the Lord by investing our time, effort, energy, and resources in the process of developing disciples for Christ. In away, he consumes his life in investing in others so that they can experience true life in Jesus Christ. I must constantly ask myself, “am I consuming my life investing in others so that they can experience abundant life in Christ?” or “am I busy consuming my life in the things that I want and desire?”. It is a tough question and I must be ready and willing to be honest with myself and the answers that I receive. I must check my calendar to see where I spend my time and my bank account to see how I spend my money. These two things will be a good indicator of what I am consuming my life doing.
II. A good leader invests in his own spiritual walk just as much as he does in others
Many times, leaders get so busy in investing in others and serving them that they forget about their own spiritual walk. As a leader, I want to convince people to follow me where I am going. If my spiritual life is anemic then how can I expect their spiritual lives to be any better? I must spend time investing in the inner man as Paul says. I need to spend time daily in God’s Word, soaking up the deep truths for my own personal life, spend time in prayer and personal meditation, as well as spend time living out what I learn. In fact, in the midst of the difficulties of life, he focuses even more on the inner man and not the outer man because focusing on the outer man just leads to being overwhelmed by life and in many cases, depression. When we focus on the inner man, we receive a renewed spirit and perspective on things. We see the situation through God’s eyes and we are able to endure and focus on serving the Lord by serving others. It is a paradox but it is the way God intends things. It keeps us focused on Him and dependent upon Him. Where is your focus, on the outer man or on the inner man? Are you setting the example of a personal relationship with God so that your disciples can follow in your footsteps? Do you spend time each day connected to the source, the Lord, through His Word and through prayer? If you do not have time for these simple, yet important things then my question is, what are you feeding the people who follow you?
III. A good leader lives by faith, focusing on his own potential as well as his disciples’
He has eternity in view and not this momentary life which is here today and gone tomorrow. He does not worry over the trivial stuff, even if it is conflict and persecution because they are momentary while eternity is forever. He does not focus on the negative things of the moment, even in the lives of his disciples. He sees their potential because he views them through the eyes of God, even if they are the ones causing him problems. He knows how God saw his own potential while he was still a sinner and enemy. He knows how God has transformed him and he wants to see the same thing happen in the lives of his disciples. How do you view the people around you? Do you see them as they are or do you see the potential in them the way that God does? This will determine how you treat them. If you see the future potential then you will want to invest your time, energy, efforts, and resources in them because you know what God can do in their lives. In fact, He can work in them the same way that He has worked in you.
I pray that we will view all things with eternity in mind so that we can use our lifetimes’ wisely, investing in the people around us for the glory of God.