Today I am going to address the subject of authority and leadership. Leaders are God’s idea. They are not some trick of the devil to bring control into the lives of otherwise free people. Leadership is a gift to those who are being led and it is intended to bring more freedom to those they lead. True leadership is not given to take from those they lead, but to give life to them. It is an expression of authority. Leadership is not a grasping for power, but an acceptance of responsibility for a purpose greater than themselves. The responsibility of accepting the role of leadership is like possessing money. Like money, it is neither good nor bad, the outcome of good or bad is in the hands of the one who possesses the responsibility of leadership.
Matthew 7:15-18 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”
A leader in the Body of Christ has the heart of a sheep. They seek to live to give substance to others. Like the sheep, they provide food and clothing to others. They live for the purpose of the Chief Shepherd’s heart. They are not kings to be served, but sons to serve the King. They are not dictators, but activators, facilitators, and those who bring release of destiny in the lives of others. Leadership doesn’t exist to get others to serve them in fulfilling their own personal purposes. Leaders lead others in fulfilling the corporate purpose of God in their lives. Leaders are like trees. They provide fruit that others can eat. They lead in a way that causes everyone to live for the greater purpose of giving life to others. They lead to bring healing to the nations and food to the generations of men (Rev. 22:2).
A God-sent leader knows that their gift of leadership is a responsibility given to them by God. It is not a position of lording over those they lead, but one of serving them in the purposes of God in their lives.
Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Leadership is a servant role, not a lording God. It is a gift of authority, not merely a demonstration of power. Those in leadership don’t live to get life from those they lead, but to give life to them in every way. They are under the authority of others so they give the authority of life to those they lead. They lead sheep, so they exhibit the attitude and the attributes of sheep themselves. The apostle Paul warned that false leadership would arise among the people who would act like wolves. They would live to get life from those they sought to exercise power over, rather than to give life others.
Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
True leadership doesn’t draw others unto themselves. They point others to Christ. They know that the highest form of communication is the Holy Spirit speaking to the human heart, thus they accept the responsibility of leading others in making a personal connection with God in their own lives.
When leaders grasp for power over others they do not bring life. The result is not a dominion of truth, but a controlling power of death that oppresses those they lead. True dominion is simply being secure in who we are. It is being true. Truth crumbles every lie, but insecure leadership can present a false dominion based upon the control of others. I have experienced this in my own life. I have been under controlling leaders and, unfortunately, I have made this error at times in my own leadership role. I have seen this to be true among good congregations of people all over the world. When the vision of ministry becomes more domineering than the vision of building people, leaders often become more like kings than fathers and mothers. They may have good intentions, but those good intentions often suppress the purposes of God in the lives of those they lead. God doesn’t want us to make names for ourselves, but to live for the building of His community in the earth.
Genesis 11:4-8 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
In this story found in Genesis the people of the earth were of one speech and purpose, but their focus was a city unto themselves. They had unity, but they didn’t have the purpose of authority. God confused their speech in the hope of something better for mankind. God wants us to have the authority of His purposes in life. It is not unity that God blesses; it is Zion. The place of God’s manifest presence in the earth is the place of God’s blessed purposes. To have a community we must establish what empowers the ‘COME to UNITY’ according to God’s purposes. What does the unity gather around? Leadership seeks to assist those they lead in finding where the oil flows off the feet, finding where the dew descends on Zion. This is the place that unity comes to. It is the place of true authority. It is the place of life. God doesn’t bless unity; unity is the fruit of God’s blessing. His blessing is life forever more and it is seen where heaven touches earth. Unity is the fruit; Christ’s manifest presence is the root. Leaders don’t lead for the sake of unity. They lead for God’s presence and purpose in those they lead. The result will be unity among those who submit to God’s manifest presence and purpose in their lives together.
Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing—life forevermore.
Leadership is given to lead for the purposes of Christ’s community in the earth. It is a role of service, not a kingly rule of dominating others. The secret to true God-anointed leadership is in the heart of the leader. They must lead for the purposes of God in the earth. Their conduct is one of seeking God’s will, not demanding their own way. They are willing to make the sacrifice of leading others for the sake of leading them into His purposes. Leaders don’t seek to get those they lead to do what they want, they seek to do what God wants and inspire others to follow them in His will. They seek the place of peace, the place of no gap between them and God. They live for the purposes of God and for leading others into that path of destiny.
James 3:13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
There are often abuses in the area of leadership, but we cannot reject the truth of leadership because of the abuses of the past. We must be secure as leaders and dare to lead others in the areas of our responsibility in life.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson