LESSON 09: The Test of True Leadership
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided [him], saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (NKJV)
What sets one leader apart from another? Again how do you discern who is a true God ordained leader and who is not? It is easy to look at your works and the things that you have accomplished and to see these as proof of good leadership. Yet I tell you that the greatest characteristic of your leadership will not come when things are going well and when you are accomplishing, but when you are at your worst!
"What comes out of you when you are squeezed?" Are you a rose that when squeezed, you let off the fragrance of sweet perfume? Only when the pressures come will you find the answer to this question.
Jesus is our ultimate example and if we look at the passage I quoted above, we can easily see what came out of Him when the pressures were at their worst. Through the mocking and through His pain, He turned and showed love. Seeing through the eyes of the Father and not through His own.
Your leadership will be tested the most, not when people choose to follow you, but when they choose to oppose you. When others rise up and condemn you and mock you. When others rise up and spread false stories about you. When you are falsely accused and lied about. THESE are the times when your leadership will be tested. And what will come out of you during these times? What will the Father find when the pressure comes upon you?
For Jesus, He showed love and forgave. He did not forgive by "gritting his teeth" and saying, "I MUST forgive because it is the right thing to do!" No, He forgave out of a genuine heart. He truly looked upon His accusers and saw them with the eyes of the Father. They took everything away and stole His clothing. They stole His dignity and stole His very life and through this all, He continued to love.
Many mocked Him and said, "He saved so many, but He cannot save Himself!" They saw His death as their victory. To the average observer, they would have walked away with their head shaking, saying to themselves, "Why did He not defend Himself? Why didn't He fight back?" You and I know the truth. We see that through His death came a mighty resurrection and by submitting to that ridicule, He was given the name above all names and seated upon the throne!
So what is your reputation worth to you today? Jesus bore the ultimate insults and today He is King. You will not find your promotion and you will not find your resurrection by taking things into your own hands. You will find your promotion in the gates of death and through the eyes of love. When you can love as Jesus loved when all the world opposes you, THEN you are ready to be a true leader.
Allow the Holy Spirit to challenge and to shape you. Because hard times will come and there will always be those that will oppose you. There will always be those that will be bitter against you and seek to destroy you. But the power of love is greater than any other force. That love brought Jesus back from the dead and it is that love that will move the hand of God to vindicate you in His way and in His time.
Become the true leader that God has made you today. Lay aside your bitterness and your need to justify or prove yourself. Let Jesus take it from here. Join Him upon that cross and forgive your accusers. And then as you do that, you will enter into the mighty resurrection that you have been seeking!