CHARACTER QUALIFICATIONS OF LEADERSHIP
(From "The Making of a Leader" by Frank Damazio)
"If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny." - Andre Maurois
"If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself." - D.L. Moody
What begins in the heart must be carefully cultivated to come to full fruit in action. This lesson will define the character qualifications of leadership. We will discuss the ways that God deals with his leaders, to develop their character so they may be vessels of honor for His use and effectiveness in their ministries. While the gifts of the Spirit are given freely, character development comes only with time with great personal effort. Each Christian is in partnership with God in this life-long process. Our goal is to help each one grow in the process with eternal value.
God’s purpose for Man
Many times throughout scripture, the Lord states His purpose for the beng He called Man. The following scriptures describe God’s highest purpose for man.
Genesis 1:26-28 “Let Us make man in our own image and after our likeness and let them have dominion”
Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
2 Corinthians 13:9 “This also we wish, your perfection.”
Galatians 4:9 “I travail in birth until Christ is formed in you.
Ephesians 4:13 “Until we all come...unto a perfect man.
2 Timothy 3:17 “That the man of God be perfect.”
2 Peter 1:13 “Hath called us unto glory and virtue”
God purposes to make man into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Contrary to what many believe this purpose neve changed. God created us in His image and that is still His desire. His word will not return to Him unfulfilled. The fall of man did not change God’s plan and purpose.
Since the first Adam failed to maintain God’s image, the Lord prepared and sent his last atom the Lord Jesus Christ, who would not fail. The Lord Jesus did not fail in God's plan because he was God's perfect son, the express image of God himself. The Lord Jesus was the eternally existent son of many signs yet to be created. These Sons and Daughters of God will develop to be like the pattern son. Hebrews 2:10 says for it was fitting for him, for whom all things, and through whom all things, in bringing many sons to Glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through suffering.
" character is perfectly educated will." - Novalis
God's purpose for his Church
God's purpose for the church is to bring many sons to Glory. For the church to reach this goal oh, her leaders must lead the way. The leaders of the church must be the first partakers of the Glorious plan of God in maturing his sons. Generally oh, he must develop the character and personality of the Lord Jesus in the church leaders before he can form it in his people at Large.
Too many churches have emphasized the gift and power of a leader oh, far above his or her character development. This imbalance has caused many problems in the church, including the backsliding of many leaders. Today, however, God is bringing us back to a balance between gift and character. The Lord is not concerned with a l gift and anointing only. He also deeply cares about a l lifestyle and character. He desires a balance between gift and character in every one of his true leaders. The following diagram illustrates the truth found in this balance.
The Definition of Character
If there must be a balance between gift and character, what is character? The following descriptions display the different aspects of a definition of the word "character"; character is the seat of one's moral being.
Character is the inner life of man. It will reflect either the traits of the sinful nature which are influenced by the world or the traits of the divine nature being influenced by the word of God.
Character is the combination of qualities distinguishing any person or class of persons.
Character is displayed in the action of an individual under pressure.
Finally, character is the sum total of all the negative and positive qualities in a person's life, exemplified by one's thoughts, values, motivations, attitudes, feelings and actions.
Character is that which can do without success.- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Greek meanings: the Greek word for character offers much insight. In the King James version, this Greek word charakter is translated as "image." Charakter, a noun, is derived from the word "charasso," which means a notch, indentation, a sharpening, scratching or writing-on-stone, wood or metal. This word came to mean an embosser and a stamp for making coins. From this oh, it came to mean the in bold stamp made on the coin, or a character style in writing. This Greek word appears in the New Testament only in Hebrews 1:3. Here oh, the writer states that Christ is the very character of God, the very stamp of God's nature, and the one in whom God stamped or imprinted his being. Consequently, we derive the meaning of our English word character as a distinctive Mark impressed, or otherwise formed, by an outside or internal Force upon an individual.
What Character is Not
To help Define what character is, we should also see what it is not.
1. Character is not just what a person will ideally be in the future. Character is what a person is at this present time. When pressure comes to a person's life oh, the real person surfaces. A person may act and think one way under the blessings of the Lord, but quite another way when the trials and heat of Life are his portion.
2. Character is not only how a person acts. Character also includes a person's inner thoughts, motives, and attitudes. Thoughts though hidden, indicate the real character of a person. Motives, too, are true expressions of the Inner Man. To change the character of a person, one must go deeper than action
3. Character does not appear without pressure. The pressures of Life test what the Lord has really accomplished in a person's character. When the heat is upon a person's character, his true character surfaces. The common irritations of everyday living expose the weaknesses in every person's life. How do you respond to the disappointments and pressures of everyday life? Character is formed under such pressures and circumstances. The qualities that are truly part of a person's character or consistent, whether the heat is on or off his or her life.
4. Character is not only that which other people see on the external. Character is what other people do not see. People may see only the side of a person that a person wants to display, but God sees the real person. An individual cannot hide his weaknesses from the Lord. Man-made look at the external, but the Lord looks at the heart. The Lord commands good works from each one of us oh, but these must proceed out of a Godly character. A person can do many outward religious works, and still be ungodly. Works are not always a sign of good character.
5. Character is not limited to having wisdom to comment on the behavior of others. Intellectually knowing how to act, think and feel consistently with Bible principles may be a far cry from actually living in harmony with those principles. A person with true character doesn't just verbally tell others what to do, but lives as an example worthy of following.
6. Character is not limited to relationships between Christians. To believe that it does not matter how a Christian acts toward non-christians is a deception. Character shows for Godly principles in every situation toward old people. For example, Christian worker must give the same respect to an employee or whether he is Christian or not.
7. Character is not limited to a person's relationship with his spiritual family. It also shows in how he treats his natural family. A Christian must demonstrate his faith and love in the way he treats his immediate family. A person's character can be discerned by the way he respects and honors his mother and father. A Christian with an unbelieving natural family can win his family to Christ by having a mature, loving character toward them.
Character is like a tree, and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it, but only the tree itself as the substance of reality.
The Need for Character
The Bible warns of an onslaught of wickedness and perversity in the last days of the world. This great Onslaught only increases our need for Godly character. The standards of the world are obviously becoming more and more corrupt. In the midst of these evil days, however, the Bible also says the Lord will raise up a people with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their lives will testify to the power of the Holy Spirit.
Even as the character of the world becomes more corrupt, the Lord is causing the character of the church to be matured. More than ever oh, the Christian needs to develop his character to resist being conformed into the different molds of this world. If the church is to achieve and retain the image of the Lord Jesus, her leaders must lead the way. We need strong, Godly character to stand against the attacks of the enemy.
Mini scriptures identify the time. In which we now live as "the last days." According to the apostles and the prophets, this last day time. Extends from the Ascension of the Lord Jesus to his second coming. The following diagram illustrates this.
In the last days oh, wicked men will grow more and more perverse. The occult will continue to grow, and the morals of many are already being shaken. The world system is challenging, shaking and challenging the spiritual values of many young people. Today's Church leadership must give a clear word to the church. They must see the need to develop Godly character, for themselves as well as the house of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 13:5)
In our next installment, we will be looking at a list of negative character traits which are now on the increase in these last days. The following scriptures will provide a description of the spirit of our times and how that is expressed in our own behavior, thinking and lifestyles. Isaiah 2:1-4, Joel 2:28-30, Acts 2:19-23, 2 Timothy 3:1-4, 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and 4:1-7.