Success in Leadership
Continuing on in our series on Christian leadership notice the words in Joshua 1:1, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spoke unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying…”. The mantle of leadership was being passed from Moses to his trainee, Joshua. Joshua learned to be a leader by following another. We have already discussed the importance of learning to following in our previous lessons on Christian leadership, but let us look at some of the things that Joshua learned that prepared him to lead.
In verse 2, God gives the command to Joshua to pass over the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. Now in verses 10 and 11 we are told, “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land”.
A leader must be obedient to the One he is following. Joshua followed the command of God to the letter. This assured that he and the children of Israel would be successful in entering the Promised Land. Following the story of Joshua further, you will see times of disobedience by his followers and the results of failure. Although the leader cannot demand followship, the simple Bible rule is that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings a curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Isaiah 1:19).
Now, back to Joshua. In verses 3-5 God outlines the blessings that await obedience. In verse 5 God promises not to fail or forsake Joshua. This leader, this man of God had God’s promise. He had God’s Word as to his responsibility. A leader must always have God’s assurance. If not, do not act. It is too dangerous to lead people in a direction that is uncertain. Remember that you will be responsible for your decisions. Only lead as God gives direction and permission.
Three times in verses 6, 7, and 9, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. How was he to develop this courage and strength? Verse 8 tells us, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
The key to successful leadership is the Bible. We are to be meditating day and night on Scripture. The successful leader will have made the Scriptures a vital part of his life. As we follow the Scriptures we have direction to go. As we step out and go, others will follow.
In verse 9 we are told to not be afraid. The word afraid means to dread, to fear, oppress, prevail, or shake terribly. A strong leader will overcome fear to do what is right and to lead his people to do right. Remember “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
Verse 9 also tells Joshua not to be dismayed. The word dismayed means to break down, either by violence, confusion, or fear. All Christians will face these situations from time to time, but as a leader you will face them more. This also means that you must be all the more prepared to fight when these times come. Know, too, that there will never be a convenient time for trials and testing to come. They will come at the worst possible times. Be not dismayed.
Hopefully, you are starting to realize that being a good leader is not based on worldly philosophies and “how to’s”, but simply applying everyday Bible principles. Anyone can be a good spiritual leader if they keep to the Word of God and keep in the Word of God. The natural outcome of following Scripture is leadership qualities developing in our lives.