Since I was a young believer, I was taught to aspire to leadership. I learned that there’s a price to pay, but the reward and fulfilment will be well worth the price. Indeed the joy of impacting lives as a leader is beyond what I imagined.
It isn’t just a journey of satisfaction and rewards but also one of facing our pain, insecurities, and fears. If we say “yes” to God’s call to leadership, He’ll place us in situations that will make us grow.
One most important leadership lesson I’ve learnt is that authority in the spiritual realm is more important than a title or position. Spiritual authority comes through brokenness and humility. Only God can prepare and promote us to positions of spiritual authority. If we aren’t promoted, it could be because God is withholding it from us.
Psalm 75:6-7 says, “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and exalts another.” No man can hinder God when He decides to promote us.
Promotion in the Kingdom does not happen the same way in the world. We may grapple our way to the top and obtain a title, but this does not guarantee spiritual authority. God’s way of preparing us for promotion and positions of authority are vastly different from man’s.
We can learn many leadership lessons from the journeys of Kings Saul and David. Saul had the opportunity to prepare for spiritual authority under Samuel, but did not yield to it while David was groomed for the job through opposition and rejection.
We’re greatly mistaken if we think spiritual leadership is glamorous. In fact, there’s much vulnerability to it. To the degree we’ve been elevated in leadership, to that same degree comes rejection. Giants of the faith like John G. Lake and Smith Wigglesworth had few friends and weren’t popular among Christians of their day.
Rejection and opposition may start with our enemies and then with friends. King David was rejected by his predecessor Saul. He saved the people of Keilah from the Philistines but they rejected and delivered him to Saul. David sought refuge with the Philistines, who also rejected him. The very men David poured his life into rejected and even wanted to stone him at Ziklag though they owed him their lives.
Being rejected by the very people we care for and invest in hurts, but it’s at this instance that we read of David’s amazing response in 1 Samuel 30:6: ‘But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.’
Learning to strengthen and encourage ourselves in the Lord is a vital part of our preparation for spiritual leadership. More than just going through the motions of our devotional life, we must learn to press into the God’s Presence, allowing Him to minister to our hearts.
Having regular moments when we feel like our heart is being gripped and transformed by God is key to spiritually and emotionally healthy leadership. The temptation in the face of rejection is to move into spiritual pride, spitefulness, and an unhealthy desire to prove ourselves. The process of strengthening ourselves in the Lord enables us to love, honour, and bless those who have rejected us.
If an external world of titles and positions is greater than an internal one of walking faithfully with God, a crash is only a matter of time. I noted a well-known prophet’s excellent advice to a young leader, “Don’t be in a hurry to get into the place of public manifestation and anointing, take time to die on the private altars of God.”