Upside-Down and Inside-Out Leadership

Recently, as I have been planning for the next eight weeks of teaching on the life of King David to elementary-age kids I’ve been thinking a lot about the lessons and applications that we can learn about leadership and other insights from the life of David recorded in 1st and 2nd Samuel. God used David’s life as upside-down and inside-out as it was; so he can and will definitely use yours! So here are a few insights.

1. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”- 1 Sam. 16:6

I think this is an important first lesson for any leader and for any follower to ask of their leaders. Where is your heart? Does your leadership qualities come from your charisma or your character? The attitudes, actions, and thoughts of the heart are what qualify or disqualify you to serve and minister for God not your college degree or Meyers-Brigg Temperament Scale personality/leading style. I would encourage you to seek God daily through is word and prayer.

2. Make friendships with people that have depth.

The example of David and Jonathan’s friendship showed me that in order to be a leader we need people in our lives who will challenge and protect us for the sake of others and ourselves. Do you have a friend that can keep you accountable and pray for you? I would recommend that it be someone who knows the stress of your job or ministry enough because they have experience in the field so that you can relate.

3. Prepare for “enemies” to come and try to trip you up.

It should be no surprise that if you have spent any time in the church that people will disagree with you. When it happens do your best to rely on God to help you to respond in grace and love towards them. Pray for them. They may not be like King Saul trying to kill you with a spear, but it may not be easy. Remember to spend time trying to bridge the adversity, just don’t expect it to work overnight.

4. Learn to admit when you are wrong and forgive others.

David had to be humbled after his sin with Bathsheba by Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 11-12).  Confess your sin and mistakes to the right people and be humble. I think that it is important to admit that even if you are a leader that you are real and you make mistakes. We all do it, just don’t let it get so out of proportion that outside authorities (or God) has to remove you from the position and possibilities of blessing others. In addition, it is also important to forgive others when they wrong you. It’s not always easy, but it is important to model God’s love and forgiveness to others even when it’s hard.

5. Lastly, don’t forget that God’s power will bring you the victory.

No amount of hard work you do can outdo God’s power that is inside of you through the Holy Spirit. Give God the glory in all your accomplishments. There will be many Goliath’s in your ministry and workplace, just trust God to give you the right words and plans and how to do them. Dependence on God’s power will be a bold witness to a hurt and lonely world who needs the promise and relationship with the Savior!


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