The enemy’s greatest tool is distraction. If he can keep us away from our focus then we will fail to accomplish what the Lord has for us. There is something very powerful in the sense of the idea of looking at the leadership skills we see in the life of Jesus that can empower us to remain focused. His style was certainly different from some of the models that we see in the world today.
I remember years back when I was studying ‘Hebrew Thought’ in college and the Rabbi explained to us the cultural background of Luke 9:59-60 “And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Culturally at the time of the the writing of Luke it was customary for Jews to go and take care of their parents as they were about to die. This could be anywhere from 6 months to a year.
When Jesus said “let the dead bury the dead” he was saying to the man, “it’s more important for you to follow me right now than for you to go be with your dying father.” This is very different from the styles of leadership that we are used to. Why did Jesus not have empathy for the man’s situation? After all his father was dying. Instead it appears that Jesus was more focused on the call of God in His life.
Habakuk 2:2-3 “Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”
Ecclesiastes 2:26 “For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.”
Habakuk 1:5 “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days— You would not believe if you were told.” Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Psalm 5:12 “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”
These scriptures build an internal fortitude in you that is very powerful in the sense of guiding you in a certain direction. They give you strength to say “Wow, God is going to do something huge.” When I think of Jesus, here is the Son of man who had 12 main disciples. One person trained 12 human beings who went on to influence the whole world.
The first thing to notice about Jesus’ style of leadership is that he knew exactly who he was. “Before Abraham was, I Am.” This is why we did a whole two week series on “I Am who I Am.”
“I Am who I Am” is the birth place of leadership. Jesus understood very clearly who he was. If you don’t know who you are you cannot be an effective leader. This idea of who he was, “I Am” was key. It’s also interesting to note that Jesus never began to use this phrase to describe himself until he had gone off to the desert and been tempted by the devil. It’s not until testing comes that you know who you are.
I believe that when Jesus was led into the wilderness and tempted of the devil that he was tempted on every level; spirit, soul, and body. “If you be the Son of Man” was a question of identity. Do you know who you are? I call this the temptation of, “Position, Possession, Pleasure.” The enemy tempts you to “Be something, have something, feel something.” Adam failed this test whereas Christ passed.
If we begin to go beyond the boundaries of the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit at the moment then that is when pride comes into place. Pride is destructive to leadership. All it does is produce arrogance, bad attitude, and idolatry around leadership. We have to merge into “I Am” but it must be done, It must be tested, and it must come through with a humble attitude.
The words “I Am” reflect creative energy. It carries massive revelation but it is: identity. The second thing we see when it comes to Jesus like leadership is a sense of destiny. Jesus was living out of who he was and what he was destined to do. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” “I am anointed.” “This day this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
His “I AM” statements are what he became.
The third thing that we see about Jesus like leadership is that everything that Jesus said about himself was positive. He always spoke positive of himself. After he was tested and proved himself in the desert he started saying “I AM”.
There’s an old proverb that says “A man’s curse falls back down upon him like a robe.” That’s a powerful image. What if every word we speak becomes like a garment that we wear? What would we look like? In Numbers 14:12 God said “Every word you speak in my presence so I will do to you.” Words have power. Jesus continually spoke loving, kind words about himself.
The power of life and death also are in the tongue. People who succeed always speak well of themselves. Do not underestimate this point. This is in the realm of the sense of destiny. Knowing who you are will allow you to speak properly about yourself. Destiny is in your mouth.
The fourth sense of Jesus like leadership is that Jesus always kept in contact with his Father in Heaven. In the business world we could say he ’kept in contact with his boss’. Jesus always kept in communication with his Father. He continually went aside and spent hours every day with his Father. When it comes to leadership it’s important to understand that not everyone can be your mentor. Not everyone can be a father to you. You need to have someone in your life that you look to for guidance and direction. It is important to stay in contact with your mentor.
I would love to know how to help people to the best of my ability. Tell me, email or write to us, let us know how we can minister to you! We have thousands of resources. Sermons, books, teachings, manuals, schools, etc! When it comes to being mentored you need to ask questions and say “these things will help me.” “What do you have that can help me with this area?”
The fifth sense is that Jesus was always a man of action. You never see him just standing around. It’s all to easy to become frozen in indecision. We don’t need what we call “paralysis of analysis.” Jesus knew how to work and maneuver through situations and how to intervene with a purpose and a focus.
A sixth sense of Jesus like leadership is recognizing that Jesus always stuck with his main mission. He never deviated from what he knew. “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”
You could say that in the wilderness Jesus was presented with many business opportunities but he turned them down because he knew his destiny. He knew his focus. The first business that you have to see thrive is what God has given you!
The seventh sense is that Jesus always believed in himself. He would say things like: “I am the Gate.” “I am the door.” “ I am the light of the world.” To believe in who you are is important in order to be a leader.
Jesus was never arrogant or prideful. God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud. The biggest hinderance to any goal, dream, or vision is to get into pride. Part of this is dealing with rejection and acceptance. Even though Jesus suffered rejection from many people he never wavered in his unconditional acceptance of whoever came to him. When those you lead know that your acceptance and care won’t be withdrawn when they make a mistake or disagree then you will find them responding to your leadership like never before! Do your people sense your unconditional acceptance?
An eighth sense of Jesus like leadership is duplication. The goal of leadership is to duplicate yourself. Jesus did this with the 12 disciples. The crowds were touched but the disciples were changed! Likewise in Acts 19:7-8 we see Paul took 12 disciples aside for 2 years and the result was that in time all of Asia-Minor heard the word of the Lord. Leadership doesn’t happen over night but it does happen when you invest consistently.
Another aspect of Jesus Like Leadership deals with the word “retrofit.” Some people here would use the phrase, “internal anchors.” Which is to say that Jesus didn’t get his strength from external sources. He was not moved by peoples ideas of him whether John the Baptist, Peter, or the religious leaders of the day. Jesus was not threatened or intimidated. He had no inferiority complex. He was strong in the Lord.
Lastly, Jesus like leadership deals with accountability and transparency. Great leaders hold people accountable for what they have been entrusted with. Accountability is not about assigning blame but about helping people grow. Jesus was accountable to his Father and the disciples were accountable to Jesus.
Some people think that leadership means never letting people see your mistakes, weaknesses, or feebleness. Jesus was the most perfect person to ever walk the earth. The people you are trying to lead don’t expect you to be the second one. Jesus was willing to be transparent before his disciples when he asked them to pray with him before the cross. A willingness to engage in some self disclosure creates an atmosphere of trust and honesty. What are the obstacles that keep you from being a more transparent leader?
These are just some of the ideas that we see when we look at the life of Jesus in regards to leadership. I pray that you would consider these areas and ask the the Holy Spirit to help you to be more Jesus-like in your leadership of others! May these areas of focus imprint on your heart and help you to be a more godly leader.