What the Church needs more than ever are leaders who have moral authority and courage to the right thing. It is easy to put our titles in front of people and say they must follow us because of what the title says. On the contrary, it is much more difficult to live such a life that because of your daily walk or spiritual journey with the Lord, people will want to follow you.
What Does It Take to Achieve Leadership Status?
It can take some years of faithfully serving and honoring God to receive that leadership status. This does not mean a person is perfect. What it does mean is that the person is above reproach or blameless. As the Bible says in Philippians 2:14-15, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
The prophet Samuel stood before the Israelites in 1 Samuel 12, essentially requesting the people to find fault in him but they couldn’t find it. We must pursue a broken and contrite heart (Psalms 51:17), showing sincere remorse, being convicted when we commit a wrong and have the desire for atonement or making things right.
How Does Moral Courage Handle Relationship Issues?
When we sin and do wrong, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we do the moral thing by seeking or giving forgiveness and making restitution where needed. Our relationships with others will then be pure and there is the desire to honor God with our relationships. (Colossians 3:12-16). This means that we have reconciled any relationship where there was an issue between them and us. Our slate is clean.
What Role Does Integrity Play In Moral Leadership?
This takes courage because we are aggressively pursuing a life of integrity. Perhaps this is the hardest life to live out. What distinguishes good leaders from great leaders is the courage to do and live out the right things, to make sure that all the aspects of one’s life truly honor Jesus Christ.
How Can Moral Courage Help Me to Stand Against Opposition?
If anyone of us is pursuing such a life, expect opposition and spiritual attacks, even attacks from fellow Christians. What group of people wanted the most to get rid of Jesus? It was the Pharisees because their level of “holiness” could not even begin to compare to the standard of holiness Jesus lived, and most of the Pharisees hated Jesus for that. Remember that in Philippians 2:15 we are told that if we live blameless and pure lives, we will shine like the stars on a cloudless night. We will stand out!
Where Do Moral Leaders Get Their Strength?
To humbly, and I emphasize humbly, live out that level of integrity and pursuing God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, takes an inner strength that only comes from God Himself. And that is what God is calling all believers too!
What Are Your Standards?
What standards do we have for ourselves, especially in the areas of sexual and financial purity? How do you guard your life against the corruption of power and status? Are you and I willing to serve any person that comes into contact with us, no matter who he or she is, what they believe, how they view us, whether they are perfectly formed or imperfectly?
Who Desires to Pursue Moral Integrity and Authority?
Completely seek God in this matter and fervently ask Him to give you the strength and courage to represent Him in such a way that answers that request. Humbly allow biblical leaders to speak into your life, to deal with sin that is deeply embedded in you and obediently develop a contrite heart. That my friend takes a great deal of courage to seek after. That is the life God desires for us to unequivocally develop.
YOUTH MINISTRY – EFFECTS OF ELIJAH’S PRAYERS
In the Bible, James 5:17-18 says, “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops”. (NLT).
So What Was So Special About Elijah?
Talk about powerful praying! Imagine your prayers having that much potency. It is true that Elijah was God’s key prophet at the time and had a very deep relationship with God. Yet as the verse says, Elijah was as human as you and me. Did he struggle as a human being? Yes, he did. The Bible tells us that at one point during the three plus years that it did not rain, Elijah was so depressed, he seriously contemplated suicide. (Check out 1 Kings 17). That is very human.
How Did Elijah Grow in His Relationship with God?
It is true that God was using Elijah to deal with the false worship of Baal and Asherah. He also had to deal with the evil reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. So Elijah was following God’s directives but there was something special about his prayer life and faith. Elijah’s faith grew and developed over the years he was a prophet. He was not a spiritual giant as a baby. Over time he learned to trust God more and allow God to use him because of the relationship journey that was growing between the two.
Can God Use Me Like He Used Elijah?
Remember that throughout the Bible God used ordinary people who were struggling and wrestling in their understanding of God and trust in Him. The goal is as you experience God in your life that your faith and trust grow. It will not happen overnight, it is a process. As you allow the Word of God to mold and shape you, you become more sensitive to the leading of God through His Holy Spirit. Note that this will not guarantee you a wonderful, pain-free life.
What if the Answer to My Prayer is Painful?
Consider the answers to Elijah’s prayers in the above verses. The answers to those prayers impacted him. He lived through the drought that resulted from a lack of rain as you read in 1 Kings 17. God took care of his needs in amazing ways but it was not easy.
So then how are we willing to pray? I have some friends who knew something was wrong in their relationships. They prayed to know the truth. God answered their prayer but the truth was painful. Are we willing to pray in such a way that life is difficult and painful, yet God is glorified and uplifted?
So How Do I Grow as a Christian?
Sometimes it would be nice to have a pill available to us that we could take and instantaneously become a super Christian and have deep insights on everything from Jesus’ perspective. Yeah, it simply does not work that way. It takes years to mature as a Christian. But Jesus is willing to work with you from day one of your spiritual journey.
How much do you or I trust God? We need simple faith in Jesus Christ. Will God always answer the way we want Him to? No. Recall that on the night before dying, Jesus requested His Father that if there was any other way to accomplish the forgiveness of sins, Jesus was very much open to that. Yet He prayed that His Father’s will would be accomplished (Luke 22:42).
What Should I Do Now?
Ask Jesus to help you to grow in your faith, read the Bible and get out there and serve people. Make sure that your motivation is to honor Jesus and not yourself. God wants to do great things through you. May you be used as a living sacrifice for God’s glory.
Quote by Pastor Andy Stanley…
“Many, many great things have begun with a single act of courage. Throughout history and today. A person steps out and makes one courageous decision and that one domino starts many other dominoes falling,” Stanley said, “We have to step out and take that first step, and we may never know the ripple effect of that one courageous decision. Catalyst leaders – your decision to do something courageous may result in something greater than you ever imagined. Step out.
“Courage is not waiting for your fear to go away. We know this at the gut level, but many times fear is still what holds us back. Fear in leadership usually is connected to the uncertainty about the future. But uncertainty about the future is never going to go away. I tell leaders all the time – uncertainty is why there are leaders. Uncertainty gives you job security. Whenever there is uncertainty, there will always be a need for leaders, which means always stepping out into the unknown, always requiring courage.”