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I still remember the talk that I had with our associate pastor at HMCC of Ann Arbor. We were in the midst of trying to finalize a list of candidates for our leadership team, but then we went on a rabbit trail. Yes, I confess. Rabbit trails are usually instigated by yours truly, but eventually I try to bring everything back to the main thing.
In the middle of the digression, we talked about what traits to look for in a potential leader who is a growing follower of Christ. We went beyond the usual traits that we look for in a potential leader – the FAITH acronym (Faithfulness, Availability, Integrity, Teachability, Humility).
We came to the conclusion that there are a few traits which reveal more about the heart of the person than anything else. They are:
1) In the last 3-6 months, has this person stepped out in radical faith and demonstrated their utter trust in Christ? When we look throughout the whole Bible, we notice that God was constantly calling His people to a life of faith and trust – Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, the disciples, and Paul to name a handful. How they responded to God in obedience revealed a lot about their view of God (and about themselves). Often times, God asks us to do things that are unexplainable, unimaginable, and unreasonable. But that is the point. God wants to see if we will completely trust in Him. Too often we are not willing to surrender and sacrifice in order to step out in faith because we love ourselves more than loving God. We are crippled by fear, insecurities and selfishness. God is always lovingly opening up opportunities for us to trust in Him. He uses our family, our future, our friends and even our finances to test us. Have you stepped out in faith recently? This one trait reveals so much about a person and where they are in terms of their relationship with Christ.
2) Does this person boast about their weaknesses? There is something about being part of a church culture, where it is easy to boast more about our strengths than our weaknesses. I think it is part of the “success” oriented philosophy that has influenced us by the world’s standards. But the Gospel is different. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians writes, “But I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses” (2 Co 12:5, 9-10). When I see someone boast about their weaknesses, I see a person who has a good perspective about themselves and about God. I get a peek into their heart. They are humble and broken people. They know that it is not about them. They are set on glorifying God in everything that they do. They have a strong view of God’s Sovereignty. They know that apart from Christ they can do nothing. A phrase that God has been placing on my heart recently is: The more our weaknesses and shortcomings ACCUMULATE, the more it begins to ACCENTUATE God’s glory. I want God’s glory to shine through me. When was the last time you boasted about your weaknesses?
When we look at both of these traits, we will see that it shows a lot about what is going on in a person’s heart. We live in a generation where there is a lot of talk, but not enough action. To walk the talk, these two traits will stretch us and test us.
Therefore, next time you are in a situation where you are being challenged to step out in faith and trust in God, remember that it might be God’s way of raising you up for something great. Also, next time you are in a situation where you have the opportunity to share about your strengths, remember to share your weaknesses because God might use it to display His glory.