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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


5 Ways God Compels Us to Lead

5 Ways God Compels Us to Lead

Coming up through the ranks as a military leader there were, on many occasions, times that I was able to learn from my leaders, my peers, and my subordinates alike.  From each subset of the populous with whom I interacted on a daily basis, I began to formulate my own leadership styles at a very young age.  You see, I learned from all of my leaders, which you would think to be a good thing.  However, there were also occasions where I learned how not to lead.

Marine Drill InstrictorAs a young Sailor I learned a lot about myself.  As subordinate, I learned which traits and mannerisms of my leaders to which I best responded.  There were days that they had to be creative in order to appeal to my motivators in order to obtain the best levels of my work.  My best leaders knew what my motivators were, and managed accordingly.  There were also other leaders who didn’t seem to know or care what motivated me.  As a result my attitude, my morale and of course my quality of work waned.

SEAL TrainingIt was important to me that I was able to see a realistic path to ascend through the ranks.  I held in high regard the office of those appointed over me and endeavored to show the proper respect to those persons who held the office.  So with that, a natural tendency for me at that young age was to emulate the leader(s) that I felt had the best leadership attributes.  These attributes contributed to my daily habits as a sailor, and through my habits, my leadership character was formed.  Along the way, I learned the elements of those attributes and how to apply them in specific situations.

Through my journey up through the ranks, I began to understand and assimilate into my leadership style, those characteristics that were displayed to me not only by men and women in uniform, but by our almighty God.  In fact, when I began to “take it to the book” (the Holy Bible) did I first begin to realize how I was created, for what I was created, and the character that God displayed befor me every step of the way.  God truly leads by example!

1.  Lead by Example

Colossians 3:17 says:  “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Jesus shows us many ways where He presents the theme of leading by example as being at the forefront of His actions!  If you haven’t heard it before, you should hear it now: as a leader, in any capacity, where you have the ability to teach and mentor protégés, they are watching and learning from your every move!  Make no mistake, like little children they are learning from your mannerisms, your speech, your ethics and your values and at each step, they are internally assessing your ability to lead them, in any capacity.  We do it all the time.  How many Pastors have you “sized up” when investigating a new home church?

Paul writes to Timothy: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

The Gospel of John says that we’re to be an example in service to each other.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”   John 13:12-15 ESV

2.  Be a Servant Leader

“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:25-28 ESV

Chief among the attributes of servant leadership, Jesus compels us to put down our pride, and serve each other with grace and empathy.  We have to remember that not only are we in the business of completing well-orchestrated (most of the time) strategic missions, that we’re also in the business of shaping and molding people.  Jesus compels us to serve our brothers and sisters and that through that service, we are providing those within our charge with the best attributes of leadership possible, both morally and ethically.

3.  Lead with Wisdom

Wisdom and discernment come with time, age and experience.  As a young leader, don’t be afraid to plant your flagpole and make a decision.  Subordinates and protégés don’t always benefit from indecision.  However, be deliberate in your decision making methodology, otherwise the ripple effects of your decisions can be impactful in other potentially unforeseen areas.  Take as many factors into consideration as possible before leading the charge in any one direction.  The benefits of your deliberate decision making process will be many.

Proverbs 8:1-36 ESV states, “Does not wisdom call?  Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:  “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”

4.  Have Trust

Have trust in those around you, as the camaraderie and bonds that you have formed through your traditions and training will be displayed during the most stressful of times.  In leading young service members individually or collectively, there must be trust among those you empower, to be able to carry out the orders with precision, as they have been trained to do.  Trust in each other, and trust in the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce”  Proverbs 3:5-10 ESV

As Paul again writes to Timothy:

“The saying is trustworthy:  If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”  1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV

5.  Lead with Love

As leaders, whether we’re leading in a military capacity, or as teachers of education, or trainers for our business or our church, or as stay at home parents; the greatest of attributes that we could ever adorn in leadership or other capacities is on distinct display by our Lord and Savior.  Of the many attributes that Jesus teaches us for how to behave and what is most consistent with the expectations that God has for us on this earth, he sums up with two very specific commandments.  They are found within the Gospels, and Matthew tells us this is how the conversation occurred:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

The apostle Paul also gives us, in his letter to the Romans:

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13 ESV


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