God's Order for Leadership
Leaders and Overseers: Timothy 3:1 This [is] a true saying, Whoever desires the office of an overseer, desires a good work
Leaders and Elders: Titus 1:5 For this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you:
What is a Leader?
For many years I had an earnest desire to be a leader, especially in the Kingdom of God. Having had the call of God upon me from a very young age and being very zealous for the Lord, wanting to go out and conquer the world for the Lord and to fulfil the ministry that He had given me. I realized to be successful in it I needed to be a leader. If God had called me to the kind of position that had seen in the Spirit it would require somebody who is a leader in the church and in the Kingdom of God. I just had one problem. Nobody wanted to follow me!
Now what is a leader without a following? You are not a leader at all. So I read all the books. I bought all the books that told you what spiritual leadership was, to see if I could somehow find out what I needed to do to become a leader and get people to follow me. There are some lovely books out there. They told me how a leader acts. They told me what a leader looks like. They told me everything I needed to know about a leader, except how to become one.
I knew what a leader looked like though. I didn't need to learn that. I wanted to know how can I move from where I am, not being a leader, to becoming a leader? How do I change? How do I go about it? I wanted to know how do I accomplish it, because if I don't I am not going to be able to fulfill my ministry?
So I looked to the Lord and looked in His Word and read the books. There are three things that I always used to learn everything I know. I read the books, I read the Word and then I lived it, and if what the book said and what the Word said and what I experienced lined up together, I formed a doctrine. In everything that I preach and teach, the chances are I have read the books, I have read the Word and I have proved it in my experience. If I haven't I cannot preach it. That is why you don't hear me quoting other preachers all the time, because I must speak from my own experience.
I can give honor to whom it is due by saying, "I read so-and-so's book and he gave this beautiful illustration, and I share it with you." That is wonderful. But for me to stand up and say, "Watchman Nee says, Matthew Henry says," is not good enough. I need to be able to speak from my own heart and my own experience. I don't need to use other people's quotable quotes. I know people who just use quotable quotes all the time. Every time you speak to them you hear, "Yeah, so-and-so said this. Yes, so-and-so said that. I heard this saying," and they are always quoting other people's sayings.
Well, I want to come to the place where I hear people saying, "Les Crause says," because it came from me. It didn't come from somebody else. I want it to be original. It must come from my own heart and my own experience, and until I do that leadership is not there is it? I cannot lead you into something that I have not experienced myself, and I cannot expect you to perform in a way that I have not done myself. It is very important.
A Leader is Not What You Do
I discovered in learning this way that being a leader is not something you do. Being a leader is something you are. Barking does not make me a dog, but if I am a dog it is my nature to bark. Acting like a leader does not make you a leader. You might fool a lot of people and you might even get some of them to follow you. You may imitate somebody else who is a leader and try and get the same kind of response from people that they are getting because they act that way. But you know there is something about leadership that just communicates without any action at all. A leader can just stand in total silence and be in control. There is an aura about him. It seems to shine forth. Why? Because he is a leader. It is part of his very nature. It is part of his very character. It is inside of him and it shines out automatically.
A leader is somebody who has a following, because when he steps out people follow. He doesn't stand there saying, "So aren't you going to follow me?" I do not have to pull it out of you. You are either getting it or you are not. You are either following me or you are not, and if you are not following me I am not leading you. Now how do you come to that place of being this frail little person trying to be a leader to becoming the confident leader that God intends you to be? I have shared some of it already and we will be looking at it more in other places. Leaders People Follow
Before we look at that though I just want to look at some of the qualities of a leader that makes people follow them. Why do people follow a leader? Why do they flock after somebody who has a big name and who could be considered a leader in the visible church? If you were to sit down and make a list of who are the leaders in the Body of Christ, whose names would you put down? It would be the people that everybody is following, I would say. It shows.
Why do people follow that big leader? Why do people like to hang around with and keep close on the heels of somebody who is a true leader? For one very simple reason, because they are not leaders and they want to be leaders. They want to get close enough to him to try and suck it out of him somehow and get it to rub off, maybe.
The Cannibal Instinct
It is called the cannibal instinct. Do you know what the cannibal instinct is? For those of you who do not understand it, cannibals do not eat people because they like the meat. A cannibal only eats certain kinds of people. He eats people that have qualities that he wants, and if you are weak and frail and mad and insane and useless the cannibal doesn't want to eat you. It is bad meat! A cannibal believes that if I eat you I will gain the qualities that you have. And so, if you were an intelligent person, if I eat you I will gain your intelligence. I will gain all the strengths that you had. It is a known fact that if the cannibals caught you, you just acted like you were mad and they wouldn't eat you.
People have this cannibal instinct. They want to latch onto you and eat some of you. What they are trying to say is, "I wish I had what you have. I want some of what you have. I'm going to stick behind you and follow you and be associated with you so that somehow I will pick up some of what you have."
That is why people name-drop. You say, "Well you know, I've been hanging around with so-and-so. We go way back you know." Somehow they are trying to pick up some of that person's fame, some of their reputation to build themselves up and to attain what they know they haven't got. Somehow they feel that if they can be associated with somebody who is a somebody, then somehow they will no longer be a nobody. If you have that drive it is a sure sign that you don't have leadership qualities. A true leader does not need that. He has that quality in him already. He just leads out and people will follow him.
People love to gravitate to success don't they? It doesn't matter what kind of ministry you have and how powerful it is, if you are in the public eye and you are famous and you have a following, people will follow. And do you know, it has been proved that the media can take somebody who is a total nobody, build them up through advertising and create an image and an impression to make people think that the person is a somebody, and everybody starts to follow him. As people start to follow him other people say, "Well everybody is following him. This must be something worth doing," and they jump in on the bandwagon. Before you know you have a crowd drawing a crowd.
"You know we had so many thousand people at our Conference."
"Oh, I wish I was there. It must have been awesome."
"Well, only about twenty three people came to ours."
"Shame, you poor thing!"
Changing Your Mindset
Isn't that the way people think? Get your mind off that. Get your mind off the idea of trying to suck that leadership from somebody else and get the Lord to put it inside of you, so that you can rise up and become that leader. If there is anything we want to impress on you that you will take away with you, it is that. When I step out of here I am not going to go and find another church to join that has a good pastor. God might lead you to do that. I am not saying it is wrong.
I want you to think, "I have a ministry. God's called me to do something. He has called me to lead out, to take charge, to take the bull by the horns. To put it together and lead on," and people will follow you. You have to be confident in what God has put in you and become that kind of leader, and your ministry will flourish and take off. Before you know it suddenly you will not have to think anymore about whether you are a leader or not. It has just become part of your nature. It is automatic.
I shared in one of the earlier meetings at the Conference how the Lord said to me once, "Stop aspiring to get money. See yourself as a millionaire. Don't try and get the millions. Become a millionaire first - inside! Think like one."
Don't aspire to become a leader. Become one on the inside. Even before you ever have a following and before anybody ever comes to you and says, "You inspire me. I want to follow you. I will follow your lead and your example," let it get built on the inside.
My leadership began when the Lord called me to leave my church and give up my job and sit at home and talk to Him all day. So I became a leader, but who was following me? Nobody was. Actually people thought I was mad. I was the last person they wanted to follow. But as I came in the Spirit in the presence of the Lord He began to show me what He wanted me to be. He began to paint a picture inside me of what I was to become in Him.
And that first night when He said to me, "I want you out there," and He called me to the apostolic function, I knew I could not do it. I knew that in the natural it was impossible for me to rise up to that kind of leadership capability. But He said, "I'll be going out there with you. Don't worry about it. I will make you into that kind of leader. All I want you to do is to be available to me. I will do the rest."
I look back on what God has done in my own life and I look back on what I was when He called me. I was the kind of person who wouldn't close in prayer because I was too shy. God wrought in me what He wanted me to be. Sure it didn't happen overnight and sure it involved a lot of death and a lot of preparation and training. Leadership Training Begins in His Presence
God will make you into the leader and He will make you into the leader, where? On the backside of the desert. That is where He started making Moses into the leader. At the Brook Cherith is where He began to make Elijah into a leader, alone in His presence.
Do you notice the kind of leader that Jesus was? Walking into the Synagogue on His very first day in ministry, standing up there reading the scroll and boldly proclaiming, "I'm the Messiah you've all been waiting for." Where did He get it from? He did not get it from His dad. He was just a carpenter, and by that time he was dead. He didn't get it from His brothers and sisters, because they thought He was nuts. Where did He get it from? Where did He get that kind of leadership capability that He could stand up so boldly and look them in the face? Where did He get it from?
Did He go to the right kind of training school to teach Him how to be a leader, to practise elocution correctly, to put on the right kind of clothing and stand with His feet just in the right place? Get the body posture and body language right. Where did He learn it? In the presence of His Father. That is where He learned it. He watched in the Spirit and He saw what the Father did.
The Father said, "Now you go out and do what you see me doing."
Jesus then just acted out what the Father inside Him was doing. That is all He did. That is how He became the kind of leader that He did, that He could stand up and speak and they would say, "Never a man spoke as this man."
Where is your leadership going to come from? Will it come by you learning to be around people, by you learning to take charge of groups of people? No, it is going to come in the presence of the Lord. It is going to come when you come into close communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with the Holy Ghost, and with the Father.
It will happen by coming into their presence, standing and looking and saying, "Lord, give me a picture. Let me see how you do it," and watching what kind of leader He is. Then saying, "Okay Lord, let's go and do this one." Let Him go in you and let Him be in you and through you. That is where your leadership comes from. It comes from inside of you by the Spirit of God that is living in you. God’s Chooses Unlikely Leaders
People are strange creatures. God sent them a deliverer in the form of Moses. The Scripture tells us that Moses was the meekest man in the earth. When Moses was confronted by the great leaders of the day, the intelligencia and nobility - Korah and his crowd - these were the guys who came from the high strata of society. These were the men who had the education, the money, the position and the reputation and moved in the right circles. They were the kinds of people you would expect to be the leaders of the entire nation. God chose though some meek, humble little shepherd who had been living in the desert to come and lead His people to the Promised Land.
Do you know that the people had more respect for Pharaoh than they did for Moses? They really did. They kept crying to go back to Pharaoh. We have the impression that the Israelites were being held in stocks and chains and being forced to go out there chained together to go and work for Pharaoh and to make their bricks. Actually they could have left any time they liked. They lived in their own homes and they were free to come and go as they chose.
How do we know that? When Moses came to return to Egypt the Lord sent his brother Aaron out to come and meet him halfway. So how did Aaron escape the guards? There were no guards. He was free to go any time he liked. The Children of Israel were free to leave Egypt any time they liked. Nobody was making them stay there. So why did they stay? Because they had their needs provided. Because somebody who was stronger than them was making them do it, was controlling their lives. None of them had the courage to rise up and become the leader that God intended, so they remained under Pharaoh's bondage.
Even as Moses took them out and they were wandering around in the Wilderness they kept wailing and groaning and moaning and saying, "I wish we could go back to Egypt. At least we had meat there!"
"What about Pharaoh?"
"Oh, we can handle Pharaoh. Hey, he was a nasty old character, but he fed us, you know."
We Submit to the Wrong Leaders
It is amazing what people will tolerate. You will sometimes come to them in meekness and love thinking that you are going to win them over, only to find out that they will run back in submission and respect to the leader that dominated them and used them. Have you seen it? I have seen it many times. People like to get back into that security of it. Moses was too meek for them. They wanted somebody tough. That is why Korah and his crowd wanted to kick him out.
"Come on Moses, we can lead better than you. We're tired of this wishy-washy leadership that you are giving us here."
Well how was Moses leading? He was saying, "Thus saith the Lord."
Moses in himself was not a leader. In fact he didn't even want to go back. He argued with the Lord and said, "Lord I can't do this. I can't talk. Yes, that's what it is." He started making excuses. In the natural he was not a leader. Moses actually was a pure analytical, and if you know anything about temperaments, the analytical is the least leadership temperament of the lot. He is unassertive and unemotional. He is a total introvert. That is what Moses was. That is why God chose him, because He wanted to manifest His glory and His power through this meek man and show that God was the leader.
You see, it comes from inside of you. That is where your leadership is coming from. And so if you are looking at yourself now and saying, "That's great. I really would like to be a leader, but it is not in my nature. It is not my character to dominate people and push them around and tell them what to do. I'm not that kind of person. You mean I've got to change?"
Jesus is that kind of person. Jesus is the leader within you and He wants to live His leadership through you if you'll let Him.
Moses was not the only one who had this problem. God raised up another man who actually was a very strong leader as well. His name was Samuel, a might prophet of God who was strong and bold and assertive. He spoke the Word of God with authority, such authority the Scripture says that God let none of his words fall to the ground. If Samuel coughed God honored it. That is the kind of authority this man had. I guess you didn't get Samuel mad, hey? If he cursed you, you were dead!
The Children of Israel came to Samuel and said, "We want a king."
"What do you want a king for?"
"Well, everybody else has a king. All the nations have a great big hero. We chat with them in the marketplace and they say, 'So, who is your king?' and we have to say, 'Well, um, we actually don't have a king!' "
"What? You don't have a king?"
"So what church do you belong to?"
"Well, I'm between churches now."
"What? You should see our pastor. He's such a man of God. Man, you must hear this guy preach. He's wonderful!"
The Stereotype Leader
They wanted a king. They wanted to be like everybody else, to have what everybody else had, to have what everybody else wanted and to latch on to that cannibal instinct. They wanted to have somebody to be their great leader. So God gave them somebody who looked the part, head and shoulders above everybody. Saul was a good looking guy. He was this great big body-building type like Arnold Schwartzenegger. You could not have had a better looking person for the part. You looked at Saul and he just oozed leader.
Samuel made the announcement, "I'm going to show you the king. God's given you the king that you want. Fan fare please... And announcing Saul. Saul? Where's Saul?"
He was hiding! Saul was one of the most insecure leaders that Israel ever had. And you know what? Because he was such an insecure man he became a dominating man who used them to build himself up. He used them to his own ends.
That was man's kind of choice of a leader. That was the image that man looked at and said, "That would be the kind of leader."
Many years later as God rejected Saul and God sent Samuel to go and anoint a new king God said to Samuel, "I want you to go to Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the new king."
Samuel goes and announces it and Jesse said, "Okay, bring on my boys."
Here comes the first guy, another Saul type. Samuel looked at him and he did it in the natural like anyone would have and he said, "Wow! Now that's a king for you."
God said though, "Uh uh. No."
"Are you sure, Lord?"
"Oh, okay. Bring on the next one."
It became worse and worse as they went on. Samuel was now starting to get confused, and Jesse was also starting to get confused, because if God was going to choose a leader for the nation surely He would take the best looking guy? The one who was strong, the one who had the natural qualities and who was quite clearly just born to be a leader?
Eventually he had to say, "Well, have you got any more sons?"
By this time Jesse was probably getting embarrassed and he was saying, "I hate to admit it, but we have the loser out there looking after the sheep. He is just a little weakling, little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy. He's a little sissy who sits and plays his harp and sings songs. The men don't want to mix with this guy. That's why we gave him the dirty job of looking after the sheep."
"Come on, call him please."
David came, and he was just an ordinary little guy. God said, "Rise up and anoint him. That's my man!"
Do you know that David became such a great leader that Israel are proud to acknowledge David, to the point where Jesus came and walked the earth. The most important thing to them was that Jesus was the son of David. What made the difference? It was not the natural qualities in David, let me tell you. The Scripture says that David was a man after God's heart. David was a leader on the inside! That is what counted. That is what counted to God. That is what God wanted to use.
Where are you looking? Are you standing looking in the mirror at yourself and saying, "Do I look like a leader?"
Are you standing looking in the spiritual mirror and saying, "Lord, show it to me. Let me see it. Let me see the leader."
God has different priorities for somebody that He has called to be a leader. Paul the apostle, as he is writing to his disciples, Timothy and Titus whom he had mentored and released into apostolic office, he wrote to them and said, "Now that you guys have set up ministry in the places that I sent you, I want you to appoint some leaders, some overseers and elders. And just so you know what kind of person to look for, these are some of the qualities that I want you to look for. He must be at least six feet tall."
Paul must have been short. He had it against the tall guys!
"He must at least have a Bachelor's degree in something. He must have some kind of education or otherwise he can't lead the church of God."
What qualities would you look for if you were in the place of Timothy and Titus?
"Well, look for people who are managers of their own businesses, directors, managing directors, people that have position in the world."
These people make excellent elders, didn't you know that? Go into any big church and you will find this to be so. Those are the people they appoint to be the elders. Again I am not saying it is wrong. These men are leaders. That is why they rose up in business. But what are we looking for? Natural qualities or spiritual qualities?
God’s Image of a Leader
Paul made a list and I have about twenty of them here. Some of them might overlap. I am going to go through them very quickly. These are the kinds of qualities he told Timothy and Titus to look for in those whom they would appoint to leadership. I just want to clarify something here concerning this passage, because a lot of people misunderstand it. Paul used the term 'bishop' here. He also used the term 'elder'. There are two different Greek words there, 'episcopos' and 'presbyteros'. What is the difference between them? There seems to be a common idea amongst leaders in the status quo church today that the term bishop refers to somebody who is a cut above the pastors.
They say, "The bishop is in charge of a lot of churches and pastors." And so as men rise up in ministry and become leaders of large organizations they like to call themselves bishop. I shared with somebody at the Conference, "A bishop is somebody who doesn't have the courage to call himself an apostle," because the term bishop has now become synonymous with apostle.
That is hogwash! The bishop is no different to an elder. He is simply an overseer of a group of people. It is the exact same office. What Paul was speaking about here was simply appointing in the local church those who would be the leaders, the oversight and the elders. The only difference is the term elder normally is linked with age and maturity and refers to somebody who has lived a little bit and therefore has the maturity and is automatically respected by the community and people automatically look up to him.
And so at times the term elder came long before the church. It dated right back to the early Old Testament, and it was the older men, the senior men who had the long gray beards, who had all the wisdom and the knowledge. People looked to them for guidance and leadership because of their experience and their wisdom. The term overseer that was added I believe allowed for the appointing of somebody to a leadership position who was not old, gray-haired or wore a long beard.
It was quite possible for Timothy and Titus to appoint somebody to be an elder in the local church who was still a young person, because what they were looking for were spiritual qualities. What are those spiritual qualities? By the time you are finished reading these you will be quite sure that you will never be a leader in all your life.
'A bishop then must be blameless...'
Oh dear, there goes me!
'He must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and he snare of the devil.'
What is he saying? He is saying, "Look for people who have a good reputation in the world and in the church." If you are going to be a leader in the church you are going to affect the world out there, too. It is no good appointing somebody to be a leader in the church and his name out there is not so good, because you will bring a reproach on the church.
They will say, "You appointed that crook to be your elder? He just swindled my family out of thousands of dollars and you are appointing him to be overseer?"
He is just saying, "Look a little bit beyond the church and realize that the spiritual qualities that a person has should be shown in every area of his life, not just when he stands up in church and prays those beautiful spiritual prayers."
"When he prays the building shakes, brother."
Perhaps he has a loud voice! You know people like that. They pray the most spiritual wonderful prayers, then go home and beat their wife up. I have seen them.
He says, 'He must be the husband of one wife.'
Oh dear, all you divorced people are out. No, that is not what Paul was saying. He was saying, "You must be a one woman kind of man. You must be a one wife kind of man if you are to be a leader in God's kingdom. You must have the kind of commitment where you will commit yourself wholly to one person."
'... vigilant and sober.'
These words mean very little to us these days. It actually has to do with not touching any alcohol, with not being addicted to drink. That is a touchy one for some isn't it?
'... of good behavior.'
In other words, modest. A person who does not draw attention to themselves. Being Hospitable
'... given to hospitality.'
They must be a good host or hostess. Somebody who is quite happy to invite people into their homes and to entertain and to give freely.
I remember we would often have people around, and if they came round we would put together a spread for them, and we would pull out everything we had in the fridge and the cupboards. We would put on the best that we could.
Sometimes people would walk in there and say, "Wow, you people must be doing all right, hey? Just look at this spread."
They didn't know that that was all that we had.
You say, "Well why did you go and give all of that to them. You gave away all your food?"
That is what it means to be hospitable. That is why it means to consider the needs of others before your own. It gets back to that spiritual transmutation doesn't it, of giving out freely in faith knowing that God will give back, but considering other people first. Being free and open-hearted and hospitable to other people instead of keeping it to yourself.
"Well I don't want the home meeting in my house on Wednesday night. That is when my favorite program is on TV."
Somebody calls up and says, "We're coming to visit you on Wednesday evening. Is that okay?"
"Um, well you know I have a prior arrangement. That's what is happening! We would love to have you around, but I'm sorry, I just can't make it on Wednesday."
I have discovered that as I have been sharing with people on the concept of home meetings, that I keep coming against brick walls and people are making excuses. Really the bottom line is they are saying, "My home is my domain. I don't want anybody else there."
Well, we had the conference in our home. It takes a challenge. Some of you snoopy people may go fiddling in our cupboards to see what we have. What kind of leader are you? I believe that is what Paul was speaking about. Able to Teach
'... apt to teach.'
"You mean to tell me a pastor has to be a teacher and has to have a teaching ministry?"
No, he did not say, "Anointed to teach or called to teach." He said, "Able to teach." In other words, what he is saying is, "Somebody who is prepared to give out to others, the knowledge that he has. Not somebody who says, 'I've got a secret and I'm not telling you.' "
"So tell me, how do you come to this position of spirituality and moving in the power of God?"
"Well the Lord taught it to me. You can go and find out by yourself! It took me twenty years to find this out. Do you think I'm going to tell you in one night?"
Have you ever noticed how preachers will give you just a little piece of their knowledge, just enough to keep your interest and make sure you don't get to know too much? Do you know why? Because the only thing they know is what they learned in Bible School and if they taught it all to you eventually everybody in the church would know it and they would have nothing else to teach. They never bother learning anything new.
This is quality of leadership, being free to give out to others in teaching and training. We have already spoken about that a lot in another message.
'... Not given to wine.'
Oh dear, now here we come with this thorny subject, "Is it right for a Christian to drink?" It is a million dollar question.
"Les Crause said at the last conference that..."
Paul was saying, "He's not addicted to wine - or tobacco, or drugs or TV or anything else that controls him."
You are not addicted. You are not under the control of something else. It is not the use but the abuse. The Scripture says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient." All things are lawful for me to do, but I will not come under the power of anything. When I am being controlled by something external that is not the Spirit of God, when I am held by that thing and I am unable to let go of it, then how can I be a leader?
"So is it wrong to drink and smoke?"
You answer that question yourself. I just ask you this question, "Why do you do it? Do you need to do it, and can you easily stop doing it?" I will leave it there.
'... Not violent and aggressive.' King James says, 'No striker.'
He must not be the kind of guy who gets hot under the collar and wants to pound people into the ground. Someone who is quick with his fists. God's leader cannot be that kind of person.
What have we looked at so far? All of these are spiritual qualities. They are inner qualities and attitudes of heart. None of these so far have to do with the external appearance. They all have to do with what is inside. Reflected in Your Family
'...Not covetous or greedy for money, patient, meek and gentle. Righteous, fair, holy, separated unto God, self-controlled. One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. Having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly.'
" Oh dear, there it goes again. I can't be a leader, because my children are not serving the Lord."
What have you put into your children? If you were a leader you would have put the Word of God into them and God will honor that Word that you put into them and He will bring them right. All you need to do is trust in what you put into them and they will come right. They will come back.
When my children reached the stage where they wanted to taste of the world I didn't restrict them and hold them back and say, "I'm not going to let you do that. You'd better be home by eight o'clock!" I explained to them the dangers. They had been taught the truth.
They had tasted the true Word of God and the true spiritual life so I said, "Go and taste it, and you tell me what you think. If you want to go out there and taste it, please be free to do it." Of course they didn't know that I had a prophetic key! I dare you to go and try.
I let them go and they tasted and they nibbled here, there and everywhere and spat it out and came back. They had tasted something better. Don't you worry about your kids. Believe in what you have put into them. Believe in the Word of God that you have spoken and sowed into them and believe that God will take that Word, germinate it and bring it to life and cause it to grow in them. They will come back, because what you have sown into them will remain. The Lord said that we will go and bear forth fruit and our fruit will remain. You stand on that promise! It works.
'... Not a novice, lest if being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.'
Don't appoint someone to leadership who is still young and new in spiritual things and is not ready to handle the kind of pressures that will come on you as a leader. Paul says you will fall into the same condemnation of the devil. What was the condemnation that the devil fell into? What did he do?
He said, "I will rise up and set my throne above the throne of God. I will be exalted and I will be lifted up and I will be worshipped in the place of God."
Satan wanted to exalt and lift himself up. When a person who has not yet developed that inner correct attitude for leadership is place into a position of authority, particularly a person who is still insecure inside and inferior, they become the most dominating leaders that you have ever seen. They get themselves into this position of superiority where they have to maintain control, because they feel so small inside that they have to act like they are big.
You go and find that pastor who is always dominating and controlling and will not give anybody a chance and he is a weak, scared little man inside. Do you know the dogs that are the most vicious and bark the most are dogs like the little one we have? They want to go and attack a truck out there! You have seen it, haven't you? They yap, yap, yap and act all big mouth. If you put a little dog in a big dog's position, that is what you will get. Don't appoint somebody to leadership that hasn't lived a little bit and has not got the spiritual qualities of spiritual maturity built into him yet.
God put Moses on the backside of the desert for forty years before he was considered ready to move in and lead God's people. God put David out in the Cave of Adullam before He brought him back to be king of Israel. God took Elijah away to Cherith and Zarephath before he could bring him to rise up and confront the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.
It gets back to what I said in the beginning. Where is your leadership going to be developed? It is in quietness and solitude in the presence of the Lord. Until you become that leader and you know that you are that leader. Until you know what you are and who you are, just as Jesus was, He knew who He was. He knew that He was the Son of God. And even though He had put aside His glory and He took upon Himself the form of a servant, He knew what He had come to do, and He knew that He was to represent the Father to mankind. All He did was to show the Father's leadership.
Temper Under Control
'... Not soon angry.'
I am glad he said not soon angry, and not just not angry. Anger is not sin. Using anger incorrectly is sin. Anger is a gift from God.
You say, "That's heresy."
No it is not. How come God gave it to everybody and how come Jesus became angry? Anger is a gift from God. You should appreciate it and thank Him for it. Now I have really probably got you confused! God has given you anger to enable you to deal with problems.
You see the chances are you are going to face the problem and you are going to say, "I don't feel like dealing with it now. Let's pretend it is not there and it will go away. We'll just ignore it and leave it. We'll pretend it doesn't exist. We'll play ostrich and stick our head in the hole and it will disappear."
It doesn't go away though. It gets bigger until it hits you at the right spot, and when it hits you at the right spot it hits that powder keg that is in you and an explosion comes out of you called 'anger'. Now is the time to deal with the problem, and let me tell you, you are ready to deal with it right now. You don't wait another minute.
"I'm dealing with it now!"
You know what most of us do though? We don't deal with the problem, but we deal with the person who caused the problem. We leave the problem there and we punch him. That is a subject all by itself and I have covered it in hurts, anger and bitterness in part of the Way of Freedom.
God's leader is 'not self-willed and does not demand his own way all the time.' Seeing Potential in Others
He considers other people and he is a lover of good men. He is not in competition with them. He looks for the potential in people. He sees it and he loves it.
He says, "Oh boy, he's good!"
How many people have you heard saying that? How many people have you seen who are leaders and who will allow somebody in the congregation like a deacon the chance to stand up and preach?
He really gives quite a fiery message there and the pastor stands up and says, "Brother Deacon that was wonderful. I wish I could preach like that."
When was the last time you heard that? Well if the pastor is a good leader you could hear that. If he is a true leader, that is what you are going to hear from his mouth. If he is an insecure leader though, you will find him saying, "Well Brother Deacon that was a good message, but you misquoted that Scripture there. And of course you know the Bible also says this. And let me just share another Scripture with you that explains this a little bit better."
He puts the deacon down and makes him look bad and shows him how useless he is. He is a lover of good men who sees the potential in others. Colette has covered this subject in the qualities of a pastor.
From Follower to Leader
I would like to end off now and discuss how to move from follower to leader. It is easy to be a follower.
"I know now what I should become as a leader. I am getting the picture very clearly. Now, please give it to me in three easy steps so I can go home and do it tonight."
How does it happen? How do I move from being a follower to one who takes the lead? A simple little statement that you have heard me mention probably many times is this, "Image is everything!" What image? The image that is built into you, of what you are and of who you are. If the image that is in you is not the image of a leader, then you will not be a leader, you will not act like a leader and you will get nobody to follow you. Until you can see yourself as a leader you are leading nobody!
Where do I see myself? The Scripture says, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Do you want a picture of what a true leader looks like? Look to Jesus. Do you want to work out some of the qualities and find out a bit more so you can stand up and preach my message better next time? Go and read the gospels and make some notes. Go and do it. Go and read the life of Jesus and look at how He acted, how He spoke, how He behaved and how He handled situations and you will have a clear picture and image of what a leader should be. He is our image.
Now here is the fun part. The Scripture says it is, 'Christ in you, the hope of glory.' Do you want to be glorified and lifted up? Do you want to stand up high and tall as a leader? The key is Christ in you the hope of glory. Also you are in Him, because you are part of His Body and you have been baptized into Christ, the Scripture says. He in you and you in Him means that the two of you have become one.
Then the Scripture says that we are to be 'conformed to the image of His likeness.' There it is. You are to be conformed, molded and made to the exact specifications of the image of Christ. That is why all of these qualities that Paul spoke about are spiritual qualities. They are qualities that will make you Christ-like. That is where the image lies. You become that kind of leader on the inside first. Jesus in you and leading forth out of you by His Spirit, will make you into that kind of leader.
Now to do that you are going to have to let Jesus be Lord. Jesus has to be Lord. He has to be the true head. People will follow Jesus. He had to sometimes shake them off and tell them to go away! They flocked after Him. They mobbed Him. They still follow Jesus today when they see Him standing behind a pulpit to preach. They still follow Jesus today when they see Him shining out of you. How will that happen? Jesus must be Lord in your life and live His life fully in and through you. Then Jesus is the leader and people will see it and they will recognize it and follow it. Jesus is Your Image
So here is the simple step. Recognize that Jesus is in you. Recognize the image that you are to represent Christ to this world. When you walk down the street, imagine that you were Jesus and start acting just like Him. You know, it will go beyond the imagination because if you learn to hear His voice you will be walking along down the street and you will meet a person.
You say, "Okay, how do I behave? What do I say? What do I do?" You just speak to Jesus and say, "Lord, what are we going to do here? What do you have in mind? What do you plan? What do you intend to do in this person's life?"
Jesus tells you, "I love that person and I want to minister to them. They have a need and I want you to minister to that need."
You can then reach out to that person. You look at them with a heart of love and compassion. You look at them through the eyes of Jesus and your whole orientation is, "I'm going to minister to you." Characteristics of a Follower
Do you know what the follower does? The follower meets the person and says, "I wonder if my tie is straight. Have I got it right? Is my hair okay? What will this person think about me? Am I doing it right? I wonder if they will like me. I wonder if they will reject me. I wonder if they'd even want to talk to me."
There are those words me, me, me - can you see the difference? A leader is not self-preoccupied. A leader doesn't think about 'me'. A leader does not think about what I am going to get out of this deal. He doesn't think about what he is going to lose in this deal. The leader looks outwardly as Christ and says, "There is a person I am going to minister to. There is a person I'm going to bless. There is a person that I am going to be Jesus to."
It is simple really isn't it? It is really not difficult at all. I told the people at the Conference, as you go out from this place and go back to the Hotel and you walk through the front doors, Jesus is going to walk in. You pass somebody down the passageway and Jesus just walked by. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you be it? Of course you can. Keep that in your heart and your mind all the time. Let that image be burned into you, that when the temptation is there to feel insecure and afraid, weak and frail and incapable you say to yourself, "Was Jesus afraid, incapable and timid?"
You will hear Him pipe up on the inside and He will say, "Let's go get 'em!"
He might do the opposite and say, "We are going to be humble now and submit and let them jump all over us."
It doesn't matter. They crucified Him on the cross and He hung there and said, "Father forgive them. They don't know what they do." And even those very words He spoke were spoken as a leader! They mocked Him and the thief mocked Him on the cross. The other one though said, "Lord, remember me."
Jesus turned to him and said, "Today you are going to be with me in Paradise."
He was hanging there on the cross in pain, but He was still a leader and still in control. He never lost control. Let Him be in control of your life and then you will be in control of your life and you will find that you will automatically be in control of others.
Seeing Yourself As Jesus
When you see yourself as a leader and when you see yourself as the kind of leader that Jesus was and is, other people will see it too. See yourself dressed in Jesus' clothes. Can you do that? Think of some of the scenes that Jesus was in, in His life, and see yourself there. Can you see yourself at the age of twelve standing there in the Temple speaking to these great big doctors and lawyers with all their wisdom and knowledge? Not afraid, not insecure, asking them intelligent questions and discussing things with them.
Can you see that? Can you see Jesus with His disciples, being bold enough to tell them what they must do, to send them forth, to commission them. Can you see it? Can you see yourself speaking to somebody else and ministering to them? Telling them that they need Jesus in their lives.
Can you see yourself praying with somebody and talking to that sickness and disease that is in them and saying, "You're going?" To speak to a person's need and minister to it in compassion, when you know that you are suffering yourself and you are feeling down. Your own heart is breaking but you put that aside and be Jesus to them. Can you see it? I want you to see it. I want to let it saturate you and fill you and get that image on the inside.
"Build it Holy Spirit, in each one now. Build that strong image on the inside. Make them into the leaders that you intended them to be, that they may rise up and lead your church and make it the glorious church that you intended it to be. Thank you Jesus."
I can see an Army of Gladiators now, an Army where every soldier is a leader. That is God's kind of Army. I see a bunch of David's, men and women after God's own heart rising up and leading the church of God! Hallelujah. No more groveling to this world. No more submitting yourself to Pharaoh for the sake of convenience. It is not acceptable. No more crying out for a king, but rising up and becoming that king yourself. No more crying out for somebody that you can follow and get from, but rising up to be the one who will lead and give out.
I can see it. Satan can see it too, and he is starting to shake a bit. He is starting to tremble in his boots.
He is saying, "Oh no, they've seen it! Oh dear, I can't fool them anymore. They know the truth now. Now there is no stopping them. Now they are going to go and turn the world upside down again. Now it begins."
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus. Rise up! Stand tall! Be what you are!
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