HOW NOT TO BE AN UNGODLY LEADER? Key Self-examining Questions: Where is your own fruit? Are you living/manifesting what you preach/speak by example? What are you manifesting (Flesh or Spirit) in every decision and action in your ministry?
The Lord speaks clearly on this subject. In 1 Peter 5:2-3 Apostle Peter, who addressed himself as an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ, exhorted* (see the original Greek and explanation at the end of this message below) the elders in the churches. This is his exhortation/appeal/charge (with legal overtone) to leaders: ” Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” (NLT)
Obviously, there were evidences (that can bring to the legal court of God) “elders/overseers/directors (in modern-day term)” who used their position to flaunt their authority over the others -co-workers and flock. Otherwise, Peter would not have used such strong words to charge them. Take note that right after he said this, he warned of the great enemy, the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Peter warned that when a leader fails to obey the command of Jesus to be a servant to those he/she wants to be a leader for, there are big cracks in your house and the great enemy, the devil can just walk in and devour you and your flock.
What did Jesus command the disciples and how did he define godly leadership? Here are the verses from our Lord Jesus Christ:
Mark 10:42-45 (NLT) 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you, it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
How do you know whether Peter is charging you or not? Just honestly examine your own fruit. Leave out the administrative paper shuffling stuff, please. A clerk or a computer app can perform that effectively and not claim leadership. Also, note that no number of meetings conducted wherein you merely give commands can qualify as producing fruit. Just send out an email in the future in bullet forms to save the time wasted/deprived of others. BTW, no fluency in repackaged management cliché (which we corporate practitioners and trainers have coined and used decades ago and thereafter discarded) will qualify you as producing the fruit that matters in the Kingdom of God. (Meditate on this warning from Apostle Paul: Colossians 1:8 NLV “Be careful that no one changes your mind and faith by much learning and big sounding ideas. Those things are what men dream up. They are always trying to make new religions. These leave out Christ.”)
1 Peter 5:6 (NLT) “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God,” Paul and Peter demonstrated the mighty power of God. If leaders persist in walking by flesh and cannot walk in the mighty power of the Spirit and the Word of God, they cannot command submission. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
1 Corinthians 4:19-20 (NLT) “But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
When Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity 38 years, the Jewish religious leaders condemned Jesus for healing and saving that man on a Sabbath day and not asked for their permission first. He was charged with not submitting to the Jewish religious authority for doing the divine healing. Instead of praising God on the awesome fact that God had done it again and again through Jesus’ filled with the Holy Spirit, spontaneously reaching out, healing and saving multitudes of the sick and tormented, rejoicing at the compassion, power and authority Jesus had demonstrated which He also commanded His disciples to do likewise and even more, the religious leaders were consumed with jealousy and offense. Their minds were filled with schemes to get rid of Jesus and even kill Him. (John 5:1-18)
The accusers were actually demanding God to ask for permission first before He could heal. Jesus said to them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” And “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.” (John 5:17, 19-20) Jesus was merely doing what God was doing, including healing on the Sabbath Day!
Jesus pointed out that His accuser’s priority and motive were all wrong, mere excuses. These hypocrites violated the laws themselves for their own personal gains. Each one of them fed their domestic animals on Sabbath and the ruler of the synagogue had the audacity to say that the woman bound by Satan for 18 years should pick another day for her healing and deliverance from the bondage! (Luke 13:15-16)
The favor of God often comes through others. When you get close to the individual who has the favor of God you can get some too. If you are blind (proud) enough not to have seen that, soon you will wonder where have all the favors gone, especially when you start thinking it’s you who has the favor. Why didn’t the religious leaders such as the Pharisees, chief priest, high priest, the ruler of the synagogue and such like see God’s favor on Jesus and not on them? Because they were too engrossed with their private agenda and scheme to use their laws to get Jesus submit to them so they could bind Him and stop Him from drawing people to Him by His fruit. They were too busy taking offense at Jesus’ good deeds for the people.
Jesus said, look at His good fruit. Look at His Father’s work through Him. Look at the new lives he birthed forth. Look at His demonstration of the Spirit and of the power.
Does God need to report to you and ask for prior permission to heal or resurrect a dead to life? Who is doing the healing today? Who is the real healer? Of course the truth has never changed. God is still the Healer. The divine healing provided by Jesus on the cross comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. Why do you require prior notification/permission requests from anyone (regardless whether he/she is your Co-worker or your flock) to heal and/or do a good deed? Have you never walked by the Spirit and experienced how the Spirit of God moves and works?
To sum up, respect needs to be earned. Where is your good fruit? Where is the work of the Father through you? Where are the new lives you have brought forth in your ministry? Where is your demonstration of the Spirit and the power?
Meanwhile, answer to this charge from the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:2-3
* Exhort/appeal: Strong’s Greek 3870 /parakaléō (“personally make a call”) refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God’s court. [3870 (parakaléō), the root of 3875 /paráklētos (“legal advocate”), likewise has legal overtones.]
Dictionary definition: exhort (verb) urge, encourage, call on, enjoin, adjure, charge, try to persuade, press, pressure, put pressure on, use pressure on, pressurize, lean on, push; egg on, spur, incite, goad; bid, appeal to, entreat, implore, beseech; advise, counsel, admonish, warn.