This month I am going to address some ingredients of a covenant leadership team. I believe that God wants to establish expressions of His covenant life in the body of Christ and not mere Christian principles. This requires a deeper level of leadership.
What is the proper passion and focus for being a qualified covenant leader? In this month’s blog topic I will examine the spirit of covenant as it pertains to leading in God’s house. Malachi, Chapter 2, describes the spirit of divorce that breaches covenant and causes leaders to abandon passion and the true responsibility of being leaders in God’s house. The address of the chapter is to the priests (Mal. 2:1). In the New Covenant every believer is called to be a priest unto God, but as leaders we are called to set the example as a priest unto God before the people of God. I will apply the keys of this chapter in Malachi to leaders as examples before God’s people.
Malachi 2:1,2 And now, O priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.”
In this passage of Scripture the priests were commanded to hear what God says to give glory to His name. As leaders we must hear what God says to give glory to His name. The family of God is to give glory to the Father’s name and as leaders we must lead in a way that sets an example of hearing God. We do not lead according to mere principles of faith, but we lead by the faith that comes by hearing God. If we do not lead by hearing God we are left short of God’s blessings. The goal of any leadership team must be to give glory to the Father’s name, because this is a goal of every expression of the body of Christ.
Malachi 2:3, 4 Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it. Then you shall know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of hosts.
How we respond to God’s voice affects our descendants (the future of the church). As leaders we must take the responsibility of hearing God as a serious thing. Our ability or inability to hear God will affect the future generations of the church. God wants us to have a relationship with Him more than he wants our religious activity or mere forms of serving Him. We must lead to enable everyone within our care to hear God for the future generations of his or her life.
Malachi 2:5, 6 My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity.
As leaders we must seek a face-to-face relationship with God. It is from the place of intimacy with God that we find life and peace. Our objective as leaders is to inspire and lead those within our care to an intimate relationship with God. We do this through expressing the truth of God through the words of our lives. Those words are more than our speech. They are the very expressions of our lives. God’s truth must be in our mouths in order to turn many away from iniquity. We do not judge people for their sin, but we lead to give them victory over the weaknesses of the flesh. Iniquity is the propensity to transgress that leads to sin. Sin is a disconnection from God. It is seeking a legitimate need in an illegitimate place. We are called to turn many away from iniquity by leading them into the place of life and peace in Christ.
Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
Leaders must speak truth and see themselves as messengers of the Lord. In order to do this I believe another goal of a God sent and anointed leadership team is to speak only life-giving words of love for God and for people. These are not critical words for the purpose of tearing people down. This kind of leadership will inspire the members of any expression of the body of Christ to do likewise. This does not mean that leaders do not have the responsibility of bringing correction or rebuke at times. It means that any expression of leadership given must be for the edification of the body and not for its destruction.
“But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law.”
Leaders set the example in keeping God’s way before the people. Their example makes a way for others to stand strong in loving God and one another and it inspires them not to stumble. Our way of life as leaders is more important than any words we attempt to teach. We must set an example of dependency upon God and be vulnerable in sharing our failures in order to inspire a dependency upon God. Self-righteousness is not covenant value, God dependency is. Leaders cannot show partiality in loving God in some things, but not in others. Our way of life is the key to loving God and loving people and that way of life is dependant upon the grace of God at work within us.
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?
As leaders we reveal the Father to those we lead. Our objective is not just to lead but also to point all we lead to the Father. Revealing people, as the family of God is the objective, not presenting commandments of an impersonal God. Leaders are representations of God as spiritual dad’s and moms, but they are not a replacement for God the Father of all people. We cannot build the kingdoms of men, but we rather lead to inspire the testimony of the kingdom of God. We must have a goal as leaders of pointing all to God the Father.
Malachi 2:11 Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the Lord’s holy institution which He loves: he has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Leaders must be true to God as the Father of His family. We can never make personal agendas or personal ministry our mistress. When ministry becomes our priority we are playing the harlot before God. Relationship must be a priority and ministry is simply a means of expressing and inspiring that relationship. We live to please God, not to please ourselves.
Malachi 2:12, 13 May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, and who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts. And this is the second thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands.
We lead to give life to others, not to take from them. Activating, facilitating, and releasing the life of God in others is a great joy. It is a privilege and not a misery. We must see leading others as a joy. If we lead for any purpose that is less than giving our all as a joy of loving God we are serving an obligation, a pain, or some kind of drudgery. This is an impure offering and brings a dishonor to God.
Malachi 2:14, 15 Yet you say, “For what reason?” because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Leaders lead with joy because they lead for the future generations of the family of God. Leaders must live and lead for the future of the body. They must lead for the children and the children’s children. Another primary objective of leadership is to love God and have a covenantal and relational commitment to His Bride. I call this a 100-year plan. God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Israel. He is the God of Paul, Timothy, Faithful Men, and Others Also. The heart of leadership must be to see God as God in every successive generation that follows. This must be the attitude and spirit of a covenantal leadership team.
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
If leaders don’t live for these things it creates an open door for a spirit of divorce. Divorce is the ultimate abandonment of destiny. To not live for the Father and for the future generations of God’s children is an invitation to a spirit of divorce. Leaders must know that if they live for themselves they are choosing to ultimately life for a spirit of divorce. Leaders must live for the family of God!
Malachi 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words; yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
To live for the Father and His family is righteous, true, and the life of any leadership team! Leaders must never lead in a way that presents a spirit of or an agenda for personal vindication. If leaders live for their own vindication or justification is to live for divorce. Leaders must life for the future of the house and God’s kingdom.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson