Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Four marks of spiritual leaders - 1

“As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage . . . .” 2 Chronicles 15:8

Christian leaders take courage from the gospel of Jesus. The opposite of taking courage is Rehoboam, who was “irresolute [literally, delicate of heart] and could not withstand” the worthless losers who defied him (2 Chronicles 13:7).

The authority of the gospel inspires in men inflexible resolve for the greater glory of Christ. They are men of passion, men of enthusiasm, men firm in purpose. They are happily unstoppable.

Such men are always needed. There are many voices ready to compromise, complain and undermine. But the cause of Christ has such grandeur, it makes other men courageous. Think of the apostles, Luther, Whitefield, Spurgeon. Every church needs such men.

In his “Thoughts on the Revival,” Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Two things urgently needed in ministers, if they would attempt great advances for the kingdom of Christ, are zeal and resolve.” He pointed out that when people see such courage in leaders, “it awes them and has a commanding influence on them.” But when leaders show timidity, their cowardice actually provokes opposition.

Gospel men have a taste for battle. They suffer, but they win, and they enjoy winning. Tolkien portrays their advance: “. . . and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them.”

If you are playing it safe, you are actually discouraging other men (Deuteronomy 20:8). Repent. But if the joy of gospel battle is in your heart, the Holy Spirit is stirring you. Now go find some other courageous men and fight with them and suffer with them and win the victory with them. The Lord will be with you, for the cause is his.