Leadership in the Image of God: Character and Image


We often talk about the traits of a good leader, but have you ever wondered how God would define a good leader?

Read Proverbs 2:1-11

Solomon provides us with an excellent jumping off point for developing the character qualities essential to good leadership. Leaders cultivate character by acquiring wisdom and understanding. Of course, those possessions don’t come without a price. They require the kind of dedicated and patient labor exercised in mining for gold and silver. Leaders must diligently “search” for the wisdom that is buried within God’s Word like treasure covered by layers of earth and rock. That means using the right tools and exercising patience and diligence as we spend time immersed within this life-changing volume. The writer uses words that call his readers to energetic and passionate action. Take a moment to reread verses 1-4, and note the quality of effort Solomon is talking about here.

As we dig, we must ask God to provide us with insight and understanding. Ultimately, only God can open our eyes to see spiritual truth and then enable us to apply that truth to our lives (Ephesians 1:18). As God fills our minds with wisdom, our character will develop so that we’ll possess the ability to consistently make right choices—choices that are just, fair and moral.

Character and Who God Is

Who are the people you admire? The chances are that the common quality in the people you esteem is inward character. If we admire quality people, how much more should we value the perfection of the living God from whom all truth, goodness and beauty are derived? Look at Exodus 34:6-7 to catch a glimpse of the exquisite character of the God of Israel.

Read Exodus 34:6-7

When Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him, the Lord said He would pass by in front of him and proclaim His name to Moses (33:18-19). God had to shield Moses from the fullness of His glory by covering him in the cleft of a rock, and as He passed in front of Moses, God accompanied this awesome display by proclaiming the perfection of His own character.

When God revealed Himself as the compassionate and gracious God who is slow to anger, who abounds in love and faithfulness, who maintains love to thousands and who forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin, He made it clear that His personal character is the absolute standard by which all of these qualities are defined. God is accountable to no one, and there is no higher standard to which He must conform. His own  eternal and uncompromising character is the unchanging standard that gives ultimate meaning to love, graciousness, faithfulness and forbearance.

Reread Exodus 34:6-7 and take a few minutes to reflect on each of God’s personal attributes that are revealed in these verses. Then ask God for the power to make these qualities more real in your own life.

Character and Who I Am
People are not impressed by facades or manipulation, but by authenticity and by those who are genuinely other-centered. Character is not a matter of outward technique but of inner reality. What are you really like when no one is looking? Consider 2 Peter 1:5-8, and reflect on the qualities of life and godliness that God wants for each of His children.

Read 2 Peter 1:5-8

The character qualities listed in these verses are admirable, but they are also overwhelming. We may aspire to these characteristics, but is it really possible for us to attain them? If it were simply a matter of fitful human effort, the attempt would be futile. But 2 Peter 1:3-4 provides an important key: In Christ, we have been permitted access to God’s divine power and have been granted the incomprehensible privilege of participating “in the divine nature.” We have not only received a new nature in Christ (Romans 6:6-13), but we are also indwelled by the Holy Spirit, whose power within us makes it possible for us to manifest these qualities of Christlike character.

True spiritual and character transformation takes place from the inside out, not from the outside in. The attributes of faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love flow from the life of Christ that has been implanted within us.

As you reflect on the eight qualities listed in these verses, ask the Lord to make them increasingly real in your life. What contrasts are evident in your own life between the times when you seek to impress people and the times when you seek to please the Lord?

Taken from Ken Boa's Handbook to Leadership

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