LIFESTYLE LEADERSHIP: Inner Lifestyle I
By Hanna Shope
In previous sessions we have found in God’s Word that each of us, as members of the ekklesia are “called out” to be leaders in the areas of our lives that we are presently in. We have investigated the calling of several of the people used by God in mighty ways, and have discovered that they, too, felt insufficient for the task that God called them for. The most important discovery seems to be the very fact that it was BECAUSE of this insufficiency that God chose them. Only through the use of persons who would not, under ordinary conditions, accomplish what God called them to be could God prove His existence. Only when God made His plan come through individuals that were not, to the world, capable of performing in such a manner was God able to impress the FACT of his existence and interaction with mankind.
We then discovered that God is not a respecter of persons, that is, God does not look at what a person is doing, He looks at what they are.
It is important that we take note of the FACT that God did not give to Moses, Peter or Paul anything that He has not, or is not, willing to give to each one of us. What is the difference, then, between those individuals and us?
What makes our fellow Christians look at us and call us ‘fanatics’? What is it that makes one Christian move through trials with joy and others seem crushed at the smallest tribulation? Why do some persons attend a church and not join the membership? The answer is always COMMITMENT. The commitment of the believer is the lacking factor in America. Why? Let’s look at what Exodus can teach us. In Exodus we read that it took God working through Moses only a few days to get the people out of Egypt and on the road to the promised land, but it took over 40 years to get Egypt out of the people. The testimony of CHRISTIANS should be exclusively of CHRIST.
When we look around us, what do we see? Egypt. We see our Egypt in the riches that have been bestowed on us to such a degree that we begin to feel we have been worthy of these blessings. We take on the love of money rather than the love of God. We not only love the world, we want to “own a piece of the rock” and forsake the “rock” of Jesus Christ. We become like the young ruler in the Gospels who truly
wanted to know how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When our Lord informed him that he must sell everything and follow Him, we see the young ruler backing off, just as we do so often.
In I John 2:16 we find the ‘trinity’ that Satan has developed as a barrier to the life that God intends for us. This ‘trinity’ is: Lust of the Flesh, Lust of the Eyes and Pride of Life. It can be better expresses by stating LUST OF THE FLESH as a consuming passion TO DO, LUST OF THE EYES as a compelling urge TO HAVE and the PRIDE OF LIFE as an overpowering demand TO BE.
Passions, possessions and pride sum up in three words the way ALL temptations throughout the ages have been handled by the prince of darkness. In a subtle way, we can state that with these three items
of temptation, the devil literally has “something for everyone!” When the lust of the flesh does not appeal, then maybe the lust of the eyes or the desire for possessions will be the method Satan chooses. If
these two fail, the next could be the “pride” that comes from not falling into the snares of the other two! Temptation is not sin. Jesus, our Lord, was tempted. Sin is defined in Romans 14:23 where we
are told, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
The difference between a “natural man” and a Disciple of Christ is that the natural man claims independence from God. The five “I WILL” statements of Satan in Isaiah show that Satan still tries to
negate our leadership by trying to tempt us with anything that will get us to fall into his sin – trying to walk in independence of God. Even Jesus shows that it is total dependence upon Him that makes the
difference, regardless of the “goodness” of our actions when, in Matthew 7:21-23 we find some leaders of religion that, on the surface, must look like great men of God. Read this section and see that the
outside of a man is not what Jesus looks at. Does our heart know Him? Our work will never introduce us to Jesus, but an introduction and reception of Jesus into our heart introduces us to works that are
eternal in nature.
The inner life, the “real” life inside the skin of a leader is the “proof of the pudding” that God has called us and that Christ is working through us. The best example of this is in the life of Daniel.
Daniel was only a child when chosen by the king of the most powerful and most pagan nation on earth to be trained for leadership due to certain qualities. Daniel 1:4 gives us the qualifications of an elite group of youths from the captive Hebrew nation. Read this section.
Now, God found one of the group to be used by this pagan nation in the highest appointive office of the land, and in so doing made Daniel the only one that He made the spiritual leader of Israel. We need to look into the important qualities of Daniel that God found and was able to build upon.
PURITY OF LIFE
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8)
Daniel chose not to sit on the fence. He probably noted that God divided the light from the dark and from that date on there were only the two – light and darkness, and Daniel chose the light.
The Apostle Paul further elaborated on this in II Corinthians 6:14-16. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what
communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the
temple of the living God.”
Let’s look carefully at the five areas that Paul uses to draw the line between God and Satan:
House of God False Worship
You MUST CHOOSE to live on one side or the other. By not making a direct choice for Christ, you make a choice to remain on the side of Satan. Even though this choice is obvious, our tendency is to
compromise the Word of God to the world. A leader must set the example and a standard that Paul tells Timothy, “A Bishop then must be blameless” (I Timothy 3:2).
Let’s turn to I Samuel 16:7 and see what God sets as the basis for considering a leader. “Look not on his countenance, or the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for a man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
So it is with many of us. If we attempt to put on an outward show for the people, we do not fool God. God sees the heart and will permit trials to be brought to a leader that will show that the heart is not as the outside. One day a test will reveal a leader’s true nature and character. A leader MUST live a pure life. Paul further explains: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”
The very criteria that God uses to decide whom He will use for His eternal purpose is found in this verse of II Timothy 2:19-21. Those who purge themselves of dishonorable characteristics will be vessels of honor. Pay attention to the term “Sanctified.” God promises to show Himself to others THROUGH the leader who is SANCTIFIED: “And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, ‘saith the Lord God,’ when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23) In the study of God’s Word, I have been approached many times by people asking me whether something is right or wrong. The Bible has specific teachings on lying, stealing and other areas – but what of those areas where there is no specific teaching? I then discovered some principles to place any such issue. Corinthian Principles of Purity is what I have labeled the principles found in I Corinthians 6:12, 8:12-13, 10:31.
DOES IT HELP? “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Does it help me physically, mentally or spiritually? Does it draw my being, mind or spirit toward God, or toward sin? This led me to evaluate my TV viewing and book reading. Does it help me grow in the Lord or hinder my progress in His Kingdom?
WHO CONTROLS WHOM? Do I have a habit that I cannot break? Am I in the grip of anything except the Lord?
WILL I CAUSE MY BROTHER TO STUMBLE? “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh
while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (I Corinthians 8:12-13) If I do this could I POSSIBLY cause another to stumble? Maybe I can handle it and have no problems, but can anyone
else see me and handle it? I must acknowledge that I am the ONLY example some have of Christians – my life must support my beliefs.
IS IT GLORIFYING TO GOD? “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of god” (I Corinthians 10:31).
Is what I want to do going to bring glory to God? Simple question, but one that many people will answer, “Well, not everything I do brings glory to God!” This is probably true, but our chief purpose for being created is to bring Glory to God and for His good pleasure.
A leader MUST lead a pure life. I am not saying a sinless life. A human will sin. A Christian leader will sin. It is not that we are sinless, but as Christians we are to sin less. A leader makes continual reference and use of I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
A leader does not need to go outside his home or his job, his country or his community. A leader only has to go outside of himself.
Computers for Christ – Chicago