We’re all probably pretty familiar with the story of Daniel from the Old Testament. As a young man, he and his friends are taken into captivity and chosen to serve their new Babylonian masters. We’ve all heard of their faith but what about their leadership?
Daniel and his friends were given a new home, new knowledge, a new diet, and new names…yet they retained their godly identity and led and influenced their new world.
God Wants to Use a Particular Kind of People for Leadership
What does a godly leader look like to you? What qualities come to mind? Here’s a list of some qualities I came across while studying this topic:
- have a purpose
- move past hindrances
- are completely available to God
- prevail in prayer
- student of God’s Word
- carry a life-changing message
- expect results
- serve in attitude and action
- are prompted by the gifts within
- empower others
- depend on the anointing of the Holy Spirit
- maintain integrity
These are at the heart of all godly leaders. That’s not to say that they will never fail or faulter, but their identity encompasses these qualities.
What Does It Take to Be a Leader?
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. – 1 Corinthians 4:1-6
Leadership Requires Accountability and Service
In this verse we see that Paul lays out a few things about leadership. First, we should let others regard us. In other words, we must be accountable to others. And what should they see in us? They should be able to look into our lives and see servants and stewards of God’s Word and Good News.
Paul is plainly telling leaders and aspiring leaders to be an open book of Christian living and service. This will of course look different for people that are very close to us versus those are mere acquaintances. It is unwise to be completely transparent with sensitive information to near strangers. However, what Paul does mean is that from near strangers to the closest friends, we should be models of Christlikeness.
Leadership Requires Able Management and Faithfulness
As accountable servants, we should follow this up with faithfulness in our stewardship or management of what God has given us and gifted us with. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, whether rich or poor, leadership is shown through faithful management of our gifts, possessions, and (probably most importantly) our time.
Leaders Must Develop
I want to end this post with a look at the 10 types of tests we will all face as developing leaders. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself in these tests. Instead, be encouraged that you are growing in your character and leadership!
*Note: these were taken from Effective Leadership by Ron McManus
1. Faith Test. This is a test in small things that comes to determine our faithfulness and potential for greater opportunities.
Be careful then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of your opportunities, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15–16
2. Motivation Test. This test comes to the one who is doing what is right, to examine why he or she is doing the tasks.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:5–6
3. Stewardship Test. This test proves how strategically and generously we handle the resources we control.
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” – Matthew 25:21
4. Wilderness Test. This test shows our spiritual dryness and reveals our willingness to change and grow.
He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you – Deuteronomy 8:15–16
5. Credibility Test. This test reveals the depth of our integrity, to see if we will compromise under pressure.
When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. – Galatians 2:11–13
6. Authority Test. This test comes to expose your attitude and willing submission toward God-given authority.
As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. – Galatians 2:6–7
7. Forgiveness Test. This test comes to show our willingness to forgive others for offenses.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. – Hebrews 12:14–15
8. Warfare Test. This test exposes our ability to fight the good fight of faith and to overcome every adversity we face.
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with the horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” – Jeremiah 12:5
9. Time Test. This test reveals the quality of your response to God-given opportunities and your commitment to faithful service until the task is completed.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? – Esther 4:14
Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. – Joshua 1:8
10. Lordship Test. This test usually occurs in one of your areas of strength.
When He had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. – Luke 5:4–7
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Also published on Medium.