Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Does a True Leader Look Like?

I had the opportunity this morning to watch a comparison between former President George W. Bush and current president obama over their speeches at the Dallas memorial service and was appalled but not surprised by the comments each of them made in regards to the quality and character of the leadership they possess. If you haven't seen it, you might wish to watch it, because today we complete our study on the three things believers need to survive and thrive in this world and the final point is developing a mind to lead.

There needs to be a leadership character and quality whether in a marriage, a county, a church, a community, a kingdom, a government, or even a home that is established. Yet, it can not be accomplished without first having a thankful heart and a submissive spirit.

In having a thankful heart as a leader, we will remember where we came from. We'll remember our sacrifices and hardships. We'll be thankful at heart.

In being submissive in spirit, a leader remembers that he is here to serve others. As a husband, he serves his wife. As a father, he serves his children. As a pastor, he serves his church. As a citizen, he serves his nation. As a statesman, you serve the people. There is a difference between a politician and a statesman. A statesman says and does what is right, not what is popular or politically correct. A statesman will sacrifice himself for the greater cause and for the what is best for the people.

You need to have all three of these qualities present in order to be an effective leader since they all build upon one another. Developing a leadership mind is a practice. It is a demeanor, whereby you are looking out for those around you, to be better off then yourself. To give them the picture of Jesus, in how we speak to our spouses and children, and even co-partners in the gospel. We should ask ourselves, have we exhibited the life of Jesus and His Word, in our words and actions? We are not perfect by any means, nor does God expect us to be.

In our study, we see that Israel failed to make the Lord their leader and it's a cycle they go through, throughout the Old Testament. It takes them decades before they are willing to repent as we see through the Book of Judges. They cry out to God in repentance, to deliver them from their sin. God delivers them from their enemy. He brings a good leader to them. They prosper as a nation. In their wealth and prosperity, they forget God. They begin to reject God and accept other gods. God sends them warnings through prophets. They blow those guys off. Then He sends them the invasion of their enemies, until they are in shackles. Decades go by and then they will cry out to God again. It's the cycle of the human heart and it's the cycle of nations as well. It's pretty pathetic.

We don't have to go through the same cycle however. We can go straight, fly direct, non-stop, from having committed a sin, as a nation or as a people. We can repent now, and get restoration. This is vitally important. You can see this throughout the history of the world.

Israel began to make their own decisions and forgot God. They created their own gods and worshiped them instead.

Now we need to develop a leadership mind. Let's look at what Israel did.

Judges 10:17-18 ~ "Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped around Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled together and camped around Mizpah. And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

We learn from others mistakes. They repented to God twice for their sins. They understood as their enemies surrounded them, they're in trouble. Some one says, "Who is the man who will deliver us?" Remember what God told Israel? "It will be a theocracy. I will be your God. You don't need rulers like those other nations. I will watch over you and take care of you." What did Israel respond with? "We want a king! All the other nations have kings, we want a king!!!" And God said, "Okay, you have rejected me, here is your king." God gave them Saul as king, and he was a mess. The people thought he was tall and handsome however and that is how Hollywood would pick a king or any of the other political parties. "He looks presidential!" What does that look like? A president is one who will bow down before God like George Washington did in the snow.

A leadership mind understands that we will never be leaders, until we are first followers. There are leaders who have titles, graduated from prestigious colleges or attend seminars but those are not leaders. King David, when he was a kid, became a leader. How? Through hardships and challenges. Saul was declared to be the leader, but he was a mess. God had groomed David all of his life to be a leader. What was his strength? He said it. "I want to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life!" You know why he said that? Because he was a follower. Only the person who is following the Lord can be a true leader.

Where are you going to take people if you're not following the Lord?

You can't take them anywhere! God says, "Let's go!" Every future leader will follow! That's why there is an inseparable relationship between a true leader and those who follow.

When you look at great generals and warriors in battle, what inspires people? When the bullets are flying? Napoleon was tenacious. He heard the gospel throughout his whole life, and understood mercy and he applied it to the man he was going to kill for betraying not only him, but the nation of France. When the man's mother pleaded to Napoleon for mercy, he gave it.

When we are followers, then we will become leaders. That's why Jesus picked 12 men. He told them to "Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men." In other words, "Come and follow me. You are going to go to college in the wilderness for about 3 1/2 years. When you are done,  you will be able to lead."

We develop a leadership mind, by being willing to follow. You have to be willing to follow the Lord. The God-factor was missing in Israel and they looked for a man instead. Jesus was willing to take on the form of a man and follow His Father.

Philippians 2:5 ~ "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 2:8-11 ~ "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Jesus was the model to follow. How did He humble Himself? Even though He was in the form of man in the flesh? Was He lower than God at the moment? No, this is where kenosis applies. It means He willingly took whatever attributes pertained to what was needed, like those who beat Him. He could have called down all the power from heaven, but He willingly took that authority and set it down. Absolute power. Jesus didn't pick it up to save Himself. Wouldn't you have? He absolutely humbled Himself and He showed us absolutely that God can be followed. That is our example!

Is that not your goal, as a believer, to be more like Him?

To develop a leadership mind, we need to be obedient to answer. When God calls, we need to respond. He is always talking, but our problem is that we are not always listening. We can tell that whenever we do something wrong, He speaks to us and tells us we need to stop. He is always talking! We need to develop an awareness and ask, "Lord, what do you want to say? " We need to be in tune like that. What is He saying to you today? Now?

If God were to stop speaking to us, as believers, it should cause us to be terrified!  We should be delighted, that God is speaking personally to us!

Finally in developing an leadership mind, we must be willing to serve. When He speaks, do it! In the crisis, what did Israel do? They called for a man, any man to lead them to victory. They never thought to call a prayer meeting, they called for a man. God's leaders are faithful to serve in God's business.

Galatians 5:13 ~ "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."

Matthew 20:27-28 ~ "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

John 15:12 ~ "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

How are you serving in your community? Christians have made a bad name for themselves. The world has had it with Christians. We have the ability to show others the love of Jesus. The days are upon us to stand up for Him and be obedient to Him.

Will you be willing to follow God?

What in the world are you living for?

Is it worth it in the end?

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