by Neil Anderson
1 Peter 5:2
Shepherd the flock of God among you . . . not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God
Our ability to speak with authority stems from the same source as was true of Jesus Himself. The authority Jesus possessed was not based on any earthly position, but in the quality, conduct and character of His life.
The true shepherd exercises spiritual leadership with the heart of a servant. As servants, we are subject to the needs of those we are called to lead. That’s why Jesus said we will know His disciples by their love. The requirements to be a spiritual leader in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are all character requirements. All of this is made possible by the indwelling presence of God, the Holy Spirit. Peter writes, “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2, 3).
You never hear Jesus say, “You do this because I’m God.” What happens to a marriage relationship when a husband authoritatively demands obedience because he is the head of the home? Nothing good, let me assure you. The spiritual head of a home, church, Sunday school class, Bible study group, etc. assumes his responsibility by meeting the needs of those under his care. Being a leader is an awesome responsibility, not a right to be demanded. A wise leader listens carefully to the counsel of his charges and depends on the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s enablement, he can live a righteous life out of which he can lead with loving authority.
As spiritual leaders, we must be like Christ and base our leadership in the quality, conduct and character of our life. We may speak with authority if what we say is true according to God’s Word and when our character is Christlike.
Prayer: Lord, I desire greater humility so I can properly lead and teach in areas where You have given me responsibility.