It is in the heart of many of us to lead. There is something inside that longs to help people around us move forward. If our motivations are right and this is not just for selfish gain or human recognition, it is usually a desire placed there by none other than God Himself.
God does not leave us without examples. He wants us to lead—in our home, our church, our business, our community—even more than we want to lead, and He has promised to give us everything we need. In fact, the most vital aspect of leadership is to have Him. And He has provided a way through His Spirit’s indwelling for that to occur.
One of the great, conquering leaders in the Bible was Joshua. Moses led the Israelites out of bondage; Joshua led them into the Promised Land. Each had their unique leadership qualities for the task assigned. Notice some of Joshua’s leadership qualities.
“How long will you put off entering to take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Josh. 18:3 NASB).
The people were dragging their feet on finishing the job of dividing the land. People need to be led. Leaders understand this and don’t mind the responsibility (and burden) of helping people get from one point to the next.
“Provide for yourselves three men from each tribe that I may send them, and that they may arise and walk through the land and write a description of it according to their inheritance; then they shall return to me” (Josh. 18:4).
Joshua sized up the situation and came up with a plan under the leadership of God. Good leaders know there need to be clear, workable systems in place to take people forward.
Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘From ancient times …’” (Joshua 24:2).
Everyone forgets. Good leaders are redundant. Some may tire of hearing it, but it is absolutely necessary to remind people that they were nothing, that God saved them. They need to remember that without Him, they’re in bondage … that He is the deliverer.
Those we lead need the past to help them contextualize the present. A good leader always reminds the people, through the vehicle of the past, of who they are and who God is and how they must relate to Him.
Leaders Give Thanks
“‘I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant’” (Josh. 24:13).
The greatest leaders are the most humble. And the greatest barometer of humility is gratitude. Wise leaders know they may have contributed to the results, but God is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Their humility drives them to continually, verbally acknowledge thanksgiving before God and those they lead.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14-15).
You cannot lead people where you haven’t gone. Good leaders don’t point the way; they lead the way by walking ahead.
“Fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth” (Josh. 24:14).
Leaders are not afraid to call people up, to challenge them to higher steps and standards. They know that without such exhortations and goals, some will invariably settle for less.
“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15).
Leadership is a great privilege and responsibility. But any leader in this life is only as good as their submission to the lordship of Christ.
There is only one perfect leader. All human authority is derived from—and the best leaders lead out of—human surrender and God-initiation.