The character of an individual is foundational to the success of leadership. We know this to be true, but what is the fiber of our character.
Psalm 15:2 contributes three key elements: a way of life, work ethic, and manner of speech. Character is really defined by the three phrases.
We must walk with integrity. Our integrity is demonstrated through honest, moral uprightness seen in a incorruptible ethical practices.
We must work righteousness. The idea stated by the Psalmist involves working what is right in the eyes of God.
Speak truth in your heart. If truth does not originate in the heart, it will not be seen in the consistency of word and speech.
When the whole of our life and leadership is developed on the foundation of these three areas, our character is defined as God would define it.
If we were to sum it up in a few simple words, it would follow the claim of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in The Leadership Challenge, “The video needs to match the audio.”
Let us arise and lead with character.
N.T. Wright’s book, subtitled Why Christian Character Matters, involves the development of Christian virtue. His approach is for this virtue to become “second nature.” The idea is for virtue to be the natural / automatic response of leaders.
The book develops three major thoughts. The first thought examines the virtuous purpose of Christian character. The Christian life is not one lived simply by rules, but the development of virtue to act naturally.
The second major thought discusses the need for character transformation. This transformation involves a renewal of mind. Character transformation must occur within, thus creating a change of actions demonstrated in behavior or conduct.
The third major thought considers the virtues of faith, hope, and love. These virtues are connected to the development of the fruit of the Spirit within the context of community.
The premise for leadership emphasizes the need for practice and community. We must implement these virtues, but we need each other to do so. We cannot develop as spiritual leaders in isolation.
It is a good thought for leaders to consider today. Our leadership must be about character and helping others reach heaven.
How much do we depend on what we can accomplish tomorrow? If you are like me, you have probably heard someone say, “There are no guarantees tomorrow will come.”
While I understand the truth of this thought, we also know that what we do to prepare today will make a difference if tomorrow’s sun rises.
So, what are we doing to make preparation today? Here are a couple of thoughts to help.
1) Seek God’s guidance in planning with the right priorities.
2) Pursue what is important, not always what is urgent.
3) Trust that if tomorrow does not arrive, we accomplished what matters most.
4) Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
5) Do something nice for someone who will never find out.
6) Be the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
7) Close the day with prayer and give thanks for the good and the bad.
These are just a few ideas, but if we follow them each day we are given, regardless of what may or may not come tomorrow, we will have a full life.
A study of God’s word can bring intensely challenging thoughts that reflect in how we live out what we believe and see taught.
It is important to clarify up front, everyone needs the gospel.
We know numerous stories dealing the difficulties of reaching those who are more affluent in this world with the gospel. This is often the case when participating in campaigns.
We know this is true, regardless of the reasons presented to the reality of the situation.
Our concern? If we know that God has chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith and the receptivity is higher, then why are we not making greater efforts to lead the most unlikely to the Lord?
Do we exert the majority of our efforts to teach the gospel to those who seemingly feel as if they do not need God because they have plenty in this life?
Should we not spend more effort leading those who have little or nothing in this life to a greater understanding of what God has prepared for us?
More next week…
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” John Lubbock
While this appears to be a simple thought, there is great depth to the application. Jesus reminds us of the value found in the priority of seeking the kingdom of God, and when we seek we will find.
Again, it depends on what we are seeking.
Are we seeking to find the best in others…or the worst?
Do we seek the truth…or are we satisfied with preconceived ideas?
Are we content with seeking to get by…or do we seek ways to excel?
Do our passions seek to be authoritative….or do we trust in good intentions?
Will we seek to provide compassionate and understanding leadership…or will we seek our own way?
The list goes on, but we all get the point.
Remember, people reflect the attitude and character we demonstrate. Be cautious, because they will also find what they are looking for in us as leaders.
Their attitude truly reflects leadership. What we look for in others is exactly what they will look for in us. Are we leading with this in mind?
There will not be enough space in weekly leadership posts to exhaust every possibility about the subject of character.
However, it should go without saying that a leader’s character is invaluable. Without godly character, a leader cannot succeed in leading as God desires.
Character is the very substance of leadership. Where there is character, there will always be leadership.
John Maxwell claims, “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” Character in leadership will be indicated by the actions created from the choices made. With each choice, character is developed.
Within a fortune cookie from several years back the following statement was found: “God gives us one face and we make for ourselves another.” This is character.
Why is it so significant to examine areas regarding leadership character?
How should character be defined? How does character define our leadership? What happens when our character is flawed or seen as no longer credible?
We will explore these questions and other important areas about the need to understand character and our leadership. We will also consider several practical areas in developing leadership character.
Levi, better known as Matthew, is an unlikely candidate for leadership. He was a tax collector and hated by the Jews. They were betrayers not leaders. They were not seen as an example to follow.
What makes Matthew a great Bible leader? He was an apostle called by Jesus, but what made him different? Consider two reasons.
Committed: The text is explicit about how Matthew, when he was called by Jesus, immediately left everything behind to follow. He walked away from security and also a wealthy job. He left any opportunity of providing for the future of family. If that doesn’t take commitment, what does?
Compassionate: Matthew hosted a great feast for Jesus. He did not invite the “well-to-do.” He invited what the Pharisees called “tax collectors and sinners.” Matthew wanted all his friends to hear about Jesus.
There is not a great deal known about Matthew, but these two areas alone cause him to stand out as a great Bible leader. Our prayer should be that we all realize the need to be committed and compassionate in leading others. Think Souls!