Foundations are important - right? Anybody seen a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa lately?
It is so easy to overlook what I’m about to put to you today as being the bedrock of all true leadership. Why? Because the world is enamoured with the bright lights and glamour of the GIFTED and TALENTED that will spawn greater audiences in their area of expertise. It is not so with growing great leaders in the Kingdom of God! I can tell you that most of the ‘problem people’ that I’ve had to deal with in a leadership sense was because they were more focused on being the bright shining star rather than work on their CHARACTER.
Character is what gets formed in us when we have made right choices when under pressure or when tempted to head down an immoral or wrong path. Character is who you are when nobody is looking. It is the foundational building blocks that will help you build your life without everything falling over when you are confronted by life’s inevitable storms and difficulties. Character is holding to TRUE NORTH when you are tempted to veer off North East or North West.
What is it about the character of God that is so ROCK SOLID? Simple – He is completely 100% reliable. He does not change his mind based on having a bad day or swayed by mood swings. Nope. He is true to His Word. What you see is exactly what you get. Complete and utter reliability.
Look at these verses, just in case you need further convincing:
Malachi 3:6 (KJV) 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. James 1:17 (NKJV) 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
There is no variation or shadow of turning with God. He is True to Whom He said He is. Therefore his character will never be bent or corrupted, unlike ours.
How can we incorporate the Character of Christlikeness into our lives?
- Ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” How does this help? It stops us from going headlong into making bad decisions because we are forced to stop and pause. This helps us to reflect on “God type choices” as we think about what Jesus would do in our situation.
- Welcome trials as ‘friends’ and not ‘enemies’ Sounds easy – NOT! Let me share with you a great translation from the book of James on the value of trials in our lives: James 2:1 When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. (J.B.Phillips translation)How could anyone actually achieve this? Remember that saying, “Out of your test comes your testimony”? It is from our trials that qualities like ENDURANCE and PATIENCE are developed and it is these qualities that make people ROCK SOLID LEADERS.Leaders need to be dependable and trustworthy and James tells us here how it all happens. “So don’t resent these trials and temptations and treat them like intruders but rather welcome them as your friends.” You don’t have to love what may be happening right now – but you can thank God that He is going to use it for His Glory whilst in the process of making us more Christlike.
- Ride the wave of Difficulty until you come out the other side In our previous point, Scripture encourages us to “Let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence”. Yes!We have all read of the Josephs, Moses and Daniels – who went through incredible trials of their faith – but they did not QUIT and came through the fire of testing shining like the sun(son). It is too easy to give in and give up when you are feeling overwhelmed with anger, disappointment (especially when you may be innocent), discontentment or disillusionment. But that is the time to fully HOLD ONTO God and allow His Grace to strengthen us in our time of need. There was something about all these bible heroes lives after they came through the trials that made them stand out from the crowd. It can be like that for you to.
Concluding this post today – I want to remind you that so much is riding on you becoming a man or woman of character and integrity in order to complete your calling. God’s grace is sufficient for you and He will never let you down!
Prayer: Father – help me to allow your work of grace to complete a ‘perfect work’ in me. Help me when I’m so tempted to take a short-cut to take the longer route and allow your work to be completed in me. I’m asking for renewed strength and perspective for my current situation and I receive it now in Jesus name. Amen