A great place to start mining leadership principles is the book of Proverbs. Take time to study just one of the 31 chapters each day, and you will be astounded at the leadership insights you will have gleaned by the end of the month.
Take Proverbs 29 as an example. Reading through this chapter, I’m reminded that:
righteous leadership causes people to rejoice
a leader builds stability through consistent justice, but bribes or showing favoritism undermines a leader’s foundation
leaders who speak up for those without a voice of their own will continue to exert influence long after their tenure is over
wise leaders energize people when they share a compelling vision
justice comes through a righteous leader, but ultimate justice come from God
I even read an important warning for leaders who make it their goal to lead righteously: Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright (v. 10).
But even on the heels of that warning I read this assurance to continue to lead righteously: Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe (v. 25).
A mark of a godly leader is one who is continually finding new leadership principles in the Bible.
Try it for yourself and see how applying God’s wisdom will increase your influence as a leader.
This is part 58 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.
“Christ Jesus was the Man of men, the model Man, the manliest Man in all respects, and yet He was, of all men, the most fully subordinated to the divine law and the most obedient in all things to the Father’s will! See your calling, my brethren! You, too, are not to be common men, nor to belong to the herd that run foolishly after their own lusts, but you are to be model men, manly and brave yet always submissive to the great Father of your spirits. We are to be such men that those who look upon us may wish that they were such as we are.”
Fellas, check out this 4-minute challenge I gave to Christian men on Father’s Day by clicking on the media player below… ↓
When we first meet Boaz, he is described as “a man of standing.” Some Bible translations say “a man of wealth,” which is an acceptable definition. In fact, the word can mean strength, wealth, valor, or prominence, but the root word means something brought forth out of travail and pain. That tells us that Boaz wasn’t born a man of standing, he became a man of standing by going through difficult times, not giving in to the downward slide of culture, and remaining true to God.
Boaz had a steel-forged integrity!
Believe me, it would have been easy for Boaz to compromise! This was a dark time of selfishness in Israel’s history. A time where just doing the bare minimum was acceptable because most of the Israelites were selfishly doing whatever would benefit them (Judges 21:25).
The other description we read about Boaz is that he is a “kinsman-redeemer.” This same word is used in this verse: “Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me and give me life according to Your word” (Psalm 119:154). A redeemer is one who is close by to help, has the strength or resources to help, and is willing to help. Of course, the perfect example of a Kinsman-Redeemer is Jesus, who became our human kinsman so that He could rescue us (see Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:7-8).
Boaz was given the opportunity to do this for Naomi and Ruth, and he seized the opportunity with gusto. Far from being a “bare minimum” man, Boaz always went the second mile to bless Ruth and Naomi:
he practiced the “hospitality clause” plus he protected Ruth and gave her more than was required
he provided food for his workers plus he provided food for Ruth and Naomi
he blessed his workers plus he blessed Ruth in the name of the Lord
Ultimately, Boaz did indeed become the kinsman-redeemer for Naomi (by paying off all the debts of her deceased husband) and for Ruth (by marrying this non-Israelite woman and bringing her into the family line of Jesus).
Boaz was King Solomon’s great-great-grandfather. When Solomon was completing the temple in Jerusalem, he erected two pillars at the entrance: one was named Boaz, and the other was Jakim (with means “God will establish”). Taken together these pillars proclaim the message: By His integrity and faithfulness, God establishes and makes firm.
Boaz exhibited integrity at every opportunity, which is what forged his character and made him “a man of standing.” Boaz demonstrated that integrity is really faith in God plus faith-filled, second-mile, others-focused actions.
“Faith without works is just wishful dreaming.
Works without faith is just religious posturing.
Works with faith is God-glorifying!” —Craig T. Owens
Men of God, please remember this:
Every Word of God that you read or hear is a test—will you obey Him or will you compromise?
Every setback you go through is a test—will you learn and grow or will you sulk and shrink back?
Every success you experience is a test—will you bless others or will you hoard your blessings?
Every decision you make in a dark culture is a test—will you just have faith, just have bare-minimum works, or will you exhibit the steel-forged integrity that comes from putting your faith to work?
God’s blessing on your life of integrity will show others a picture of Jesus. God’s blessing on your life of going the second mile will show others that it is God who establishes and makes firm.
Don’t rob your family, don’t rob us, don’t rob future generations of the outpouring of God’s blessing because you are selfish or compromising. Stand strong, trust God, go the second mile, be the kinsman-redeemer for those in need, and then watch for God’s blessings!
…the things which happen to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel (Philippians 1:12).
About 4-5 years before Paul wrote this, he wrote to the church in Rome: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Paul said, “All things” were being used in God’s plan for his life.
If I was one of those Philippian Christians I might respond, “Even in imprisonment?! C’mon, Paul, your liberty has been taken away and you can’t travel and preach anymore—can God use even that??”
Paul would give me an emphatic “Yes!”
A mark of a godly leader is one who practices what he preaches.
Paul said even his imprisonment was being used by God…
… the palace guards heard the gospel
… others became bolder in their Christian testimony
Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves… (2 Corinthians 13:5).
The root word for discern in the New Testament Greek is dokimazō. This word means to examine something—scrutinize it closely—to see if it is genuine. We’re instructed to take a close, scrutinizing look at…
…our beliefs about God (Romans 1:28)
…our understanding of God’s will for our lives (Romans 12:2)
…our relationship with God and others (1 Corinthians 11:28)
In his book Romans: God’s Glory, Donald Grey Barnhouse discussed the root word for discern (the Greek word dokimos). He said,
“In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world.” (emphasis mine)
This should be said of every Christian: “They are dokimos—men and women who are honorable and are the real deal. They don’t shave anything off; they don’t water anything down. They can be scrutinized closely and found to be the genuine article.”
The Bible makes it clear that before the world can call us dokimos, the Holy Spirit first has to stamp that word on us. It’s only after we have allowed Him to scrutinize (and correct) our beliefs, relationships, faith, and motives that we can be labeled dokimos. When we are the real deal in His presence, the world cannot help but see the genuine article when they examine us.
Let’s live this way! May both God and the watching world be able to call us dokimos!
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:16)
Jesus wants Christians to be leaders, to be pacesetting examples. That means that Christian leaders must be comfortable with others carefully watching their lives.
A mark of a godly leader is one who is comfortable with public scrutiny.
“It is bad enough to be blind ourselves. It is a thousand times worse to be a blind guide.” —J.C. Ryle
“Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.” —1 Peter 2:12 MSG
“Sermons must be practiced as well as preached…. If a man teach uprightly and walk crookedly, more will fall down in the night of his life than he built in the day of his doctrine.” —John Owen
“Be a walking, talking, living example of what you preach, in every silent moment of your life, known and unknown; bear the scrutiny of God, until you can prove that you are indeed an example of what He can do.” —Oswald Chambers
“Behave yourselves wisely—living prudently and with discretion—in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians)…” —Colossians 4:5 AMP
“We hear that some people in your group refuse to work [or are behaving irresponsibly; are living/walking in idleness/disorder]. They do nothing but busy themselves [meddle; interfere] in other people’s lives. We command those [such] people and beg [urge; encourage; exhort] them in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly [or settle down] and earn [eat] their own food.” —2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 EXB)
“We should make less excuses for the weaknesses of a Christian than for any other man. A Christian has God’s honor at stake. When a man is regenerated and bears the Name of Christ the Spirit of God will see to it that he is scrutinized by the world, and the more we are able to meet that scrutiny the healthier will we be as Christians.” —Oswald Chambers
This is part 37 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.
The skeptics were always watching Jesus. As with our Master, so with us.
They wanted to find an inconsistency with which they could discount all that Jesus stood for. Thankfully, they found none! May the same be said of you and me.
May our lives and speech (or silence) never cause skeptics to discount the Gospel or—even worse—blaspheme God, nor may our lives cause a weak Christian to doubt or stumble.
This requires from us—
Self-awareness … I have to know my tendencies and avoid those things that cause offense.
Boldness … to speak the truth in love.
Knowledge of the Scripture … and its correct application.
God-confidence … so that we’re not intimidated by man’s disapproval.
Humility … to not seek things for our own benefit.
Charity … as we demonstrate our faith in loving action.
Focus … on eternity and on the greater treasure in Heaven.
Holy Spirit, empower us to live like our Master every day. “Adam’s likeness now efface, stamp Thine image in its place.” May people see and hear Jesus in us. No matter how closely they watch us, may they see no inconsistencies.