Leading by example means modeling what you believe. Below are three traits every good leader should live by to ensure a positive, generational impact is made.
We are living in deceptive times. Culture is accepting of a world view that is shaped by the assumption that truth is relative.
A problem is created when we assume there is no need for standards – trustworthy leadership cannot be established.
Roger Scuton give good advice concerning this problem: “When someone says there is no such thing as truth, they are asking you not to believe them. So don’t.”
A lack of standards eliminates leadership. Without an example I become confined to my own heart rather than to a gauge or compass that can steer me in the right direction.
Consider the condition of society and how it relates to the following two passages.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NIV) In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
When we no longer hold ourselves accountable to a standard avoiding sin seemingly is less important.
However, when sin is given way it only leads to more sin and destruction.
“There are many angles you can fall but only one which you can stand.”
G. K. Chesterton.
There is seemingly no greater area where good leadership is needed than with a child.
The other day, while in the waiting room at the Dr.’s office, there was an magazine article that sparked my interest, Six Things To Say During The “Talk”. Having recently had the “talk” with my jr. high age boy, I wanted to see how our discussion compared.
Below are a few quotes from the article, I hope you are sickened by the advice.
“Young people often think good sex is ‘just something that breaks out, that impulsiveness is evidence of authentic feeling’. They may even feel that actively planning to get into someone’s pants is dirty.”
“If your kids do want their first time to “find them,” warn that it could happen when they’re drunk or lack protection.”
“Don’t rush it—but when it happens, use a condom.”
“Whatever you want to watch is your business.”
“…your teen is online, so he’s probably seen hours of porn.”
“Teach them to have a critical eye—to be thoughtful porn consumers…”
“…make some acknowledgment of homosexuality to show you’re okay with it—and that they should feel the same way.”
– Mens Health
Good leadership will direct and influence others towards truth and safety, quite the opposite from the above advice.
Society is essentially saying there is no need for example/leadership because whatever you think or do is ok.
The word example means: a person or way of behaving that is seen as a model that should be followed
The Apostle Paul was a man who took leading by example seriously.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Below are three traits of good leaders that can be drawn from the passages leading up to the above verse.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV) 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
Paul is saying that just because he could do something doesn’t mean he should.
Paul was careful to consider how the conduct of his life could influence those around him.
1. Good Leaders Care More About How Their Words And Actions Impact Others Than How It Benefits Them.
Considering others is not always our first thought. It can be difficult to consider how others will feel or will be impacted.
“…few of us realize that it also takes great courage to live uprightly for Christ day in and day out, to walk through the daily grind of this life with unswerving integrity, doing the right things when no one is watching, living by standards, principles, conscience, and convictions 100 percent of the time.”
Model Man, pg. 36
Be careful from living as if there can be a distinction between private and personal life, or from thinking that there are special circumstances that permit a more relaxed standard.
The verses continue…
1 Corinthians 10:30-31 (NIV) 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
2. Good Leaders Have An Eternal Perspective.
Leaders move you towards something. Leaders direct you to what is bigger than you or today.
Our time on earth is short, and how we use our time matters. Will we build our own kingdom or that of King Jesus?
Having an eternal perspective helps you to put things into their proper place. It makes your earthly pursuits less desirable while reminding that your time on earth is critical.
1 Corinthians 10:32 – 11:1 (NIV) 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
3. Good Leaders Are Consistent.
The word example in verse one means to imitate.
You can only imitate or copy something with consistent practice.
During baseball season my boys consistently practice fielding ground balls so that they can imitate the same thing during a game.
Football teams practice running routes so that they can imitate the same play when it really matters.
I could never imitate my wife’s signature without first consistently practicing every movement and line.
Small compromises will affect your influence. Our families, co-workers, schools, friends, neighborhoods need people who are leading by example consistently.
People can not follow half of you. They either trust you fully or not at all. Trustworthy leadership is built through consistently practicing what is right and true.
I hope you will use your influence and time to make a lasting impact that positively affects those around you. You are leading by example, the question is what are you leading others towards?
God bless you.
Do you like what you’ve read?
If so, join a number of others who receive my free email newsletter that provides encouragement, hope, perspective, and free resources for church and ministry leaders.
To do so just enter your name and email below!