Godly leaders live at the intersection of faith and practice. On one side of the street is our faith. We desire to be men and women whose faith reflects our transformation into Christlikeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
On the other side of the street is the real world where we live out our lives. Here is the dirty, gritty, and oftentimes difficult task of being Christlike in a fallen world, surrounded by unbelievers.
We want to be good. We want to be Christlike. But then the real world raises its ugly head testing our resolve with attacks on our principles, our faith, and even on God Himself.
Every Christian lives at this intersection of faith and practice.
Christian leaders must be prepared to withstand the assault of the world, or their leadership will falter.
The Apostle Peter gave some excellent advice to young believers that every Christian leader should take to heart. His advice consisted of qualities important for the Christian and came in two forms. First, he told them what to do to clean up their lives. Then, he gave them direction for how to live out their lives in a way that would bring honor to God.
Clean Up Our Lives
Peter instructed believers to clean up their lives by getting rid of certain qualities. In 1 Peter 2:1, Peter said they should “…rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.”
- Malice. Wicked ill-will toward others.
- Deceit. Deliberate dishonesty or concealment of the truth.
- Hypocrisy. Claiming moral standards not evident in your own behavior.
- Envy. Resentful discontentment toward someone else’s qualities, property, or possessions.
- Slander. False statements, lies, damaging to a person’s reputation.
As leaders, the greatest damage to our testimony among non-believers is our inability to live out our lives in a Christlike fashion. We hypocritically claim a moral standard while bearing malice, being deceitful, envious, or even slandering others.
We need to put our own house in order first. Only then will our testimony to non-believers bring glory to God.
Once he addressed the negative aspects of our behavior, Peter addressed how to live our lives, so our example will be a positive one.
Live Out Our Faith
Peter continued urging the young believers to live holy lives among the non-believers wherever they live and do good works so others will see their example and be drawn to God (1 Peter 2:11-17).
Peter provided four specific instructions:
- Avoid the fleshly desires that war against you (v. 11). This is more than the lustful desires. It includes all the sinful desires of the world.
- Conduct yourselves honorably (v. 12). Not just with believers, but with non-believers, so despite their slanderous accusations against you, everyone will see that Christians are honorable.
- Submit to human authority; obey the law (vv. 13-14). God ordained government, so Christians should obey man’s laws as long as they do not violate God’s law (Acts 4:19).
- Show proper respect to everyone (v. 17). This includes loving the brotherhood of believers, fearing God, and honoring the king.
Peter’s instructions came at a time when Christians were living as strangers in a world that was hostile to the Gospel. Christians were slandered, falsely accused, and in many cases, suffered intense persecution.
In light of this adversarial environment, Peter’s instruction was for Christians to live their lives in a way that made them stand out from the world of non-believers. Through their good deeds, people would ultimately glorify God.
Leaders, it is said that the only view of God most non-believers see is that of Christians. Let’s make sure that what we reflect to the world in our lives is behavior that brings glory to God. In so doing we will fulfill Matthew 5:16, which says, “…let your light shine before men, so that they [non-believers] may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Which of Peter’s instructions for leading a good Christian life do you think is most difficult?
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Category: Personal Development | Leader Qualifications