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God’s Path for Developing Leaders, Part 4

Filed under: Leadership — Pastor David Sep 20, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

Leadership Development Pt 4- Godliness of the Leader

“Godliness is more important than giftedness.” Andy Stanley

In 2 Peter 1:5-9, Peter is showing leaders the path to developing and becoming fruitful. Every leader starts when his/her faith is energized to step out in courage and obey what God has shown them to do. Then they begin to passionately pursue the course which leads them into the world of knowledge and of gaining insights to better accomplish this mission from God. This knowledge is mastered as they discipline themselves and are tested by challenges and trials.  They must discipline themselves to persevere and stay focused on the vision through all that they are experiencing in life.  As a result of doing this they now enter the next phase of growth and development, which is summed up in the word “godliness”.

What is the first word you think of when you hear the word “godliness”, or hear the compliment that someone is “godly”? What face comes to mind? Do you think of the Puritans or the stern and pure men of the past centuries? Or do you think of someone separated from society, or someone who refrains from the frivolous things of the world? Maybe you picture someone who is serious and careful, they know their Bible, and they spend hours in prayer?!  We certainly know that each of these descriptions is a part of the description of a “godly” person. Let’s examine this word, “godliness”.

The original word is, “eusebia”, which means, “to be focused on God’s presence and approval.”   i.e. this person concentrates on what pleases God and on what nourishes their relationship with God as the primary reason for how they act.  They are not as concerned with what people think or may criticize. Their focus is on what God says and thinks.  They are full of the presence of God, or as I call it, they are  “God-conscious.”

What are the marks of someone who is conscious of God’s presence and lives primarily to please God? One word the Bible points to in describing godliness may surprise you, it is the word,  “joy”! Psalm 16:11 “In Your presence is the fullness of joy.” Someone has wisely stated, “Joy is the flag that tells others Jesus is on the throne.” This delightful spirit of genuine joy, internal happiness, and a deep satisfaction is the atmosphere that a godly leader brings when they come into the room. This leader makes learning a joy (see Prov. 15:2 it translated “a wise teacher makes learning a joy or even fun” ) The leader’s greatest success comes in the positive atmosphere of joy, i.e. when there is a positive atmosphere people learn faster and change their lives more easily. Contrast that to the stern and stifling legalistic attitude of the Pharisees. Their condemnation and criticism were killing the people who were under their leadership. Then see the contrast, as the cheerful and radiant Jesus comes, lifting hearts and hopes with His smile and words of encouragement.  Virtually anyone can create a negative learning environment, but it takes a godly person, with great character, to create a fun filled and enjoyable environment.  One leader noted, “If it is truly spiritual it will be fun as well.”

Another aspect we see in a godly leader will be his or her “confidence”, or “boldness.” Acts 5:13 “They observed the confidence of Peter and John… they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  The self-centered Jewish rulers saw the leadership of the apostles and noted the difference in their confidence. They were secure with themselves and what they were doing. They were not nervous or trembling because of what others thought. They were not cowering under the pressure of their critics but standing resolutely in what Jesus had taught them. That is godliness! The spirit of confidence and assurance.  We know we are right with God even when things go wrong. We know that God loves us and that He hears our prayers even when the evidence is contrary. We have been tested enough and seen God come through eventually. We are confident that He causes all things to work out for our good. The confidence of Romans 8 is astounding. Read it when you get a chance… and revel in it!

Another descriptive term for “godliness”, is “restfulness”, or “a relaxed attitude assured that God is in control”. Matt. 11:28 “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am humble and meek in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for My burden is light and My yoke is easy.” Godly people are not strained or overly intense. They may be passionate but not frantic. There is a peaceful air surrounding a godly person that denotes the very presence of God. Even God is noted as being seated on His throne; He is not standing on it, jumping up and down in protest, frustrated with all the sinful actions and attitudes that exist on this planet. He is resting in His own sovereignty. He teaches us to do the same. We rest in His great wisdom, power, love, and mercy. J. Hudson Taylor’s favorite hymn has become one of mine as well, “Jesus, I am resting resting in the joy of what You are, I am finding out the greatness of Your loving heart.”  John Wesley called this “being easy to get along with.” It is a spirit of reasonableness and fairness to listen to the other’s side with a relaxed stance. We can even consider heresies with an “even attitude”, listening carefully and calmly in order to truly hear what the heretic is saying, instead of closing our heart to them and shutting them down before we have even heard them. Patience and kindness also fit into this very well (1 Cor. 13:4 Love is Patient and kind, or, easy to drink down).                             Jesus refuted error and redirected His disciples constantly with a patient and tender spirit. He was a calming influence whenever He came onto the scene and so are we when we are under His influence.

The last quality of godliness I will mention is that of having a wisdom, or a skill level which makes the job of the leader appear as being “easy”. Prov. 1:7 “The fear of the LORD (our loving reverence in our relationship with God, i.e. a godly spirit) is the beginning of wisdom.” (see also Prov. 24:3-5 the wisdom of the leader fills the house with all kinds of precious gifts, and strengthens his followers in every way). Godliness trains the mind and heart to discern the good from the bad. After years of enduring trials and hardships the leader is made into a skillful worker who quickly detects the error or the problem and then takes the necessary steps to heal the hurt and/or solve the problem. After it is over, the followers often say, “Wow! That was easy!” And they actually believe that it is easy, until they are the leader who is leading through the trial, themselves! They then realize that many things can (and will) go wrong, but the godly leader seems to know just what to do and when to do it! He leads in such a way that people trust him and have confidence in his leadership.

Are you godly? Have you been shaped and hammered into this word “godliness”? Keep walking and trusting that God will develop this high quality in you.

Father, Your agenda is to develop us through Your disciplines, until we partake of the peaceful fruit of holiness. Develop in us the understanding and the will to follow Your clear direction. May we be a calming influence, reminding others of Your presence and Your power, ultimately leading them to accomplishing Your purpose. In Jesus Name. Amen.