“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Some people are naturally gifted leaders. You might be good at leading students on your sports team—you may even be the team captain. Maybe you’re the president of a club at school. You can make difficult decisions when times call for it. You are able to come alongside others and delegate responsibilities to them in order to get a bigger plan accomplished. You’re the person people look at to call the shots. Your friends might confide in you when they need advice or help in something they wouldn’t trust anyone else with.
Then again, maybe you’re the kind of person who’s just fine with going along with the crowd. You don’t know what to do when decisions need to be made, but you’re great at being told what to do and doing it well. You’re a talented athlete, a hard worker, an intelligent thinker, a creative observer. You simply prefer that someone else lead instead of you.
Regardless of whether you’re currently appointed to a leadership position or not, everyone will have to stand up and lead in their life—whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, whether you’re 14 or 40. Why is this?
While you and I were still sinners— happily ignorant to our offenses against God— Christ stepped in and reconciled us to Himself. He was humiliated on a cross and absorbed the wrath of God that we justly deserved. Grace changes our hearts as God takes our brokenness and makes us a completely new creation through His power (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). And because He has so drastically changed our lives, He has called us to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
As believers, each of us model Christ in the way we lead our lives amidst a watching world that opposes God and encourages sin. Certainly anyone can be asked to fill a leadership position—there are plenty of individuals who are energetic, charismatic speakers, and they’re highly skilled at what they do. They may even be better at certain things than you. Regardless, your identity is rooted in something far greater than a set of skills. Perhaps you aren’t in a leadership position on a sports team or in a school club, but you are still a leader by the character you demonstrate around your friends. Many “leaders” make decisions based on how they are perceived by others; few truly stand by their convictions. The actions of a Christian should communicate that Jesus is their greatest treasure, their highest joy, and the supreme authority in their life. That means that we must choose to stand for Him when others may be led in a direction that is against the truth.
As a man or woman of God, you are entrusted to lead people to Christ through your conduct.
But here’s the catch: you cannot lead well apart from God. You weren’t made to. As a leader, you are not the starring role and God is not the supporting actor. He demands and rightly deserves supreme authority to lead your life. And He’s a really good leader, too—the best there is. He won’t cut you short or let you down. He isn’t selfishly seeking His own interest while leaving you in the dust as a lowly follower. Rather, He leads you out of His incredible and massive love for you. And everything He does and every decision He makes is with you in mind. Trust this: you’re in the hands of the best Leader there is.
Just as a football team goes by a playbook that their coach draws out, God has given us His Word as our playbook to lead from. His Word is alive and active; it has the authority to teach us, correct us, and train us in righteousness (see Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16). And God hasn’t stopped with His Word. He’s given us the church—other believers who lead with us, side by side.
Biblical leadership is never accomplished alone.
Moses relied on Aaron to help him speak to Pharaoh (Exodus 4:10–17, 27–31). David confided in his friend Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1–5) and appointed men of Israel who helped him defeat his enemies (2 Samuel 23:8–39). Mordecai encouraged his niece, Queen Esther, to stand firm in the Lord before the king of Persia (Esther 4:13–14). Paul leaned on Silas and Timothy during his traveling church ministry and prison time (Acts 16).
Even Jesus never led alone. He was the Son of God, yet He was accountable to His Father the whole time. His power and authority to speak, heal, and die on the cross came from the Father. Jesus said, “I can do nothing on My own. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30). In everything Jesus was doing, He was looking up at the Father, getting His approval and instructions.
Your task at hand is to lead others. There’s strength in numbers. You were never meant to lead alone.
Search the Scriptures:
- 2 Timothy 4
- Mark 10:35-45
- Hebrews 13:7
Questions to Consider:
- Is God your supreme leader?
- Does the gospel shape your identity and how you make decisions?
- Have you humbled yourself and entrusted your life to other believers who can encourage you and point you to the Word of God?