The fruits of the Spirit of God are love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and patience. It is interesting that leaders great or unknown, empowered or restricted, experienced or at the beginning of their journey, wealthy or without financial resources can all experience the fruits of the Spirit without limit or restriction. Every leader should look introspectively on a regular basis and determine if these gifts from God are present, increasing or decreasing. One of the fruits that tends to be a gatekeeper to enjoying all the others is self-control. As we move through the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles it is good to stop and look at one leader that lost it all because of lack of self-control. Read 1 Chronicles 3:1.
In the genealogy of King David, Amnon was his first born. One might suppose the firstborn son of a great king was foreordained to do great things for his people. Yet Amnon will end up little more than a footnote in Israel’s history and forfeited any claim to leadership because of his lack of self-control (2 Samuel 13:1-19). Amnon’s lack of self-control led to the disgrace of his family, destroyed his half-sister’s life and eventually resulted in his own death at the hands of a vengeful half-brother.
Leaders will leave a legacy. The question is will it be viewed as positive or negative by those who follow behind. Read 1 Kings 2:5-6 and 28-34.
Abner and Joab were both military leaders. Both were relatives of the kings they served. Their careers and their characters, however, present a sharp contrast.
Abner was a competent military leader, but his loyalty was to Saul, a ruler whose disobedience to God guaranteed his failure as God’s chosen king of Israel. No matter how hard Abner fought, no matter how skillful his leadership, Abner was on the wrong side.
“They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor…They sweep past like the wind and go on – guilty men, whose own strength is their god (Habakkuk 1:6, 11).
These members of the Babylonian army were a “law to themselves” (they do whatever they want), “promote their own honor” (they look out for number one), and their “own strength is their god” (they rely on themselves). Sounds like today. This is the fundamental struggle of every leader. Every moment of every day we choose either to live out of our own strength and be independent from God, or to depend on God alone and walk by faith. When we try to be independent, we sin. When we walk by faith, Christ’s righteousness is lived out in obedience. Read 2 Samuel 24.
All of us have met or served with leaders who read one too many of their own press clippings and started to believe what they were reading. They forgot that they did not achieve any victory alone. Effective leaders understand the value of their team and are fiercely loyal to them. Read 2 Samuel 23:8-35.
David led one of the most famous teams written about in the Bible. Some of the battle feats are so phenomenal that if we saw them reenacted in a movie we would immediately assume the story was fictional. Josheb-Basshebeth “raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter” (v. 8). Another one of David’s Mighty Men was Eleazar who, when all the rest of the army retreated “…stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword….The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead” (v. 10). Eleazar single-handedly defeated the troops that put the rest of the army to flight. This team was so important to David that he named them individually in chapter 23.
God-honoring leaders will err toward dependence on God rather than self-reliance. Read 2 Samuel 22.
King David was one of Israel’s, and history’s greatest leaders. He was selected by God to be Israel’s leader and even though he had temporary lapses in judgment and made some poor leadership decisions, in his inner, hidden, deeper, secret thoughts, David never questioned where his ability to lead came from. The following are selected thoughts David writes in a song featured in 2 Samuel 22 concerning his deliverance from the hand of his predecessor Saul and the hand of his enemies: