As Christians, our solid foundation is the finished work of Jesus Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, our ever-present and wise teacher, director, rebuker, and friend. We are sinners-saved-by-grace, not righteous kings in ourselves but serving the true King Jesus who has redeemed us by his righteousness.
Even when these truths are settled in our hearts and minds, we remain at war with Satan, who continues to prowl like a lion ready to exploit our weaknesses (1 Pet. 5:8). We must be spiritually vigilant. We must band together with the men and women that God puts in our lives so we can be mutually accountable and supportive.
Building on this foundation in Christ and his church, as a leader, you must discern where and how to lead the people in your God-given sphere of influence.
You are surrounded by a cacophony of voices that make this kind of discernment nearly impossible. Being selective is therefore a required discipline. You need to manage your information stream instead of being passively overwhelmed by it.
There are three key perspectives leaders need to gain clarity and prioritize the wisest voices and the best information over the noise.
Leaders Need Clear Perspectives on History, Especially the Past
The best leaders are students of history and biography. Yes, you need to learn certain technical and procedural skills to succeed in your field. But your greatest challenges are people challenges. Study biographies of others to learn how they managed difficult situations and handled themselves.
History did not begin when you arrived on the scene. The past continues to be relevant to understanding yourself and the world. As C.S. Lewis wrote in one essay found in God in the Dock, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”
Leaders Need Clear Thinking about the Present
We need leaders like the men of Issachar. 1 Chronicles 12:32 describes the Issacharians as “men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, two hundred chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.”
Associate with people who think wisely about our present situations. Listen to them. Consider local and global. Understand the gap between aspirations and capabilities. Be fearless in recognizing evil at work. Biblical principles are trustworthy, including Jesus’s counsel to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
Considering the environment is important on many levels. As much as 40 percent of the genome of bacteria – the simplest of cells – codes for proteins involved in sensing the environment. Likewise, leaders need an exquisite understanding of the current situation.
Leaders Need Clear Ideas about Opportunities for the Future
Adapt to exponential technological changes. Reject simplistic “solutions,” but seek simplicity on the far side of complexity. Have a bias for action rather than passivity. Seeking God’s face is the most fundamental, powerful action you can take. Ask yourself:
- Am I doing the right things to be spiritually strong in mind and heart? To guard against sin?
- Am I learning correctly from the past?
- Am I learning from the best and wisest thinkers about the current times?
- Am I investing thinking and discernment into the way forward for the business or organization God has asked me to lead?
Our deepest problems are not economic, political, or technological. Remember your foundation – God has provided the solution for your spiritual condition. He delegates to you and me to lead on the rest.