Self Leadership in the Bible: Meaning, Origin, Operation & Competencies.

Through Bible verses on leadership, we get the opportunity to peer into God’s mind on the subject matter. These verses…
Achinike Amadi

on August 20, 2023

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  • Through Bible verses on leadership, we get the opportunity to peer into God’s mind on the subject matter. These verses are not another perspective or suggestion, it is the truth that ought to shape every Christian having the authority to direct. That includes you and me.

    In this article, we would be diving deeper into foundational principles and practice that make for godly leadership; the kind of leadership that pleases him.

    After reading this article, you would know the fundamentals of self-leadership based on biblical truths, and uncover how its practice can enable you to accomplish your vital role in God’s plan.

    What is Self Leadership in the Bible?

    Self-leadership in the bible is the process of discovering, building, and stewarding your life in Christ for the establishment of God’s will and kingdom impact.

    While the term ‘Self-leadership’ doesn’t exist in any original bible text, its core concept and ideas have agelong roots as far back as the beginning of man. They may express themselves in native but familiar bible terms like calling, godly character, divine purpose, servanthood, etc.

    Biblical self-leadership also entails the discovery, desiring, and diligent pursuit of God’s goodwill and given privileges because they are uber-important to us.

    pinterest image with title "self leadership in the bible."

    While common-day self-leadership shares some similarities with Biblical self-leadership, they operate differently at a basic level.

    Yes, there is a uniqueness that can’t be ignored which we will look at in later parts of this article.

    The Origins of Self Leadership in the Bible.

    The ability and practice of self-leadership, though expressed in different forms, dates as far back as the Creation story.

    “Let Us make man in our image.”

    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.– Genesis 1:26-27.

    God, taking inspiration from himself, made man a high-level being; self-aware, intelligent, free-willed, and sentient. And in his wisdom, he gave man Willpower; an internally regulated agency for autonomy. This is the element in man that allows him to function on his own. With the instituted governing principles of the natural world, and the free will of man, all creation could function without the intervention of the Creator. Autonomy.

    His will and pleasure.

    God was pleased with what he had created(Genesis 1:31). This verse and Revelation 4:11 informs us that the creation and sustained existence of Man (and all creation) is a result of His will. By His will and for His good pleasure, man and all creation is, and have their being.

    Furthermore, the second chapter of the book of Genesis captures the earliest form of purpose — to do His will. In verses 15,19 and 20, Adam directs and guides himself towards the accomplishment of the instruction and task given to him by God.

    God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it. He did and fed on them also.

    God brought animals to Adam to be named. Adam named them competently(Genesis 2:20).

    God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and evil. He commanded them against it(Genesis 3:3). They rebelliously did otherwise. Although it led to the fall of Mankind, this proves Adam and Eve were absolutely self-governing beings.

    Picture of Adam and Eve

    Have dominion over the Earth.

    And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. – Genesis 1:28.

    This passage of scripture describes the Dominion Mandate. The authority divinely conferred unto man to rule over the earth and express their identity as image-bearers of God. For a reemphasis, the Psalmist in Psalm 115:15-16 declares the earth as Man’s jurisdiction.

    May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He has given to mankind. Psalms 115:15-16.

    Notwithstanding, Man’s mandate and power to rule the earth, makes him responsible for the earth that is loved by the Creator. God expects us to rightly steward all that he has placed in our care — the earth, His breath in our bodies alike.

    Governing Principles of Self Leadership in the Bible.

    overview of self leadership in the bible

    1. The Faithfulness Principle(Luke 16:10-13).

    Whoever is faithful in small matters will be faithful in large ones; whoever is dishonest in small matters will be dishonest in large ones. If, then, you have not been faithful in handling worldly wealth, how can you be trusted with true wealth? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what belongs to you?

    2. The Principle of Due Diligence(Matthew 7:7-8).

    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

    3. The Paradox of Kingdom Leadership.

    .. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. – Matthew 20:26-27.

    The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. – Matthew 23:11-12.

    See also: Luke 9:48, Luke 22:26.

    Competencies in Biblical Self Leadership.

    competencies in biblical self leadership

    The competencies of self-leadership do not mean that God can’t use you or has written you off. He can use anybody irrespective of religious background, education, or wealth. These competencies, however, directly influence the success levels and outcome scales of the intended purpose. They are capacities that make for an effective self-leader;

    1. Discover who you are in Christ.

    Discovering who you are in Christ is a fundamental aspect of self-leadership in the Bible. It involves gaining a deep understanding of your identity, purpose, and position as a believer in Jesus Christ.

    Debated for a long while is the Identity-Activity conundrum. Which comes first, The identity or activity? For instance, Am I a teacher because I teach or do I teach because I am a teacher?

    Anyways, Christian self-leaders see themselves as God sees them and value what He values. As they do his will, they gradually express their true, already-existing identity and eventually fulfill their purpose. In understanding who you are, you find your true expression. And we become likely to step into our full potential when we start to see ourselves clearly.

    God sees believers as members of the body of Christ, the Church, charged with revealing Christ to this world. He sees us as image-bearers who, like Him, have authority but on a lesser scale. He is Chief and he made us Chieflings.

    There is a place for self-awareness as well; where self-leaders become conscious of their behavioral tendencies, strengths, and limitations. All of which primes them for Godfidence.

    2. Desiring the privileges in Christ.

    Adam sinned. Through him, sin evaded the world and spread to all. Since that bite up until now, the world has known the tyranny of evil and the havoc wrought in its wake. Many question the existence of a good God and write themselves off to the darkness. There may be no silver lining in the sky but there certainly is the Light of the World (John 8:12). His name is Jesus and in Him, God has revealed His great grace offering the forgiveness of sin, salvation, freedom, peace, joy (and so much more) to all of mankind(Eph 2:7).

    That’s what an understanding of God’s goodness does. It allows our heart to seek out the good that exists; to search beyond the confines of this fallen world. Many have not yet Found because they have not Sought.

    The desire for God’s graces fuels the practice of biblical self-leadership. Without this, we could miss out on the best things in life and live in regret for having chased everything but what truly matters.

    3. Godfidence.

    It would be counterculture to advocate against absolute self-efficacy in a world that idolizes personal achievements. On the contrary, biblical self-leadership wisely invites self-leaders to give up self-sufficiency and build faith in God.

    When we recognize God as the Supreme being who created all things, we find reasons to submit in humility, rely on his power, and do His will which satisfies man’s greatest need for self-actualization.

    Self-leadership in the bible invites us to live for God— to trust and pursue His way over ours. This doesn’t take away the ability to make internally regulated choices instead it employs us to use it in choosing God whenever it’s a question. It means whenever the will or wisdom of God is made known, self-leaders ought to consider themselves 0% self-reliant, submit, and with the ability of autonomy, choose to direct themselves God’s way.

    rich man didn't lead himself right
    Source: Church of Jesus Christ

    From the story of the rich young Man, we learn it isn’t always enough to know ourselves and seek desired experiences. Additionally, self-leaders must come to a point where they realize that they are not absolutely self-sufficient and submit to the higher wisdom and power of God.

    Man’s ‘partial’ dominion allows for submission and followership. If well practiced, these make for impactful and exceptional lead ership.

    self leadership in the bible graphic

    4. Divine leading.

    During the journey to the destination God has provided, there might be obstacles, challenges, and distractions to discourage and detract us from the right path.

    But assuredly, there is guidance and direction for everyone who has given up his own way and is pursuing God’s way trusting in the sufficiency in God.

    Divine leading seeks the heart of the one who is Godfident — trusting in the sufficiency of God.

    Divine leading constitutes the communication style and influence of God in His relationship with you as Father, King, Master, Shepherd, and Lord.

    As we, as sheep, continue to follow God and trust his leading, we grow in our ability to discern and distinguish his voice (and will) from ours and the world’s. The more accurately you are able to discern, the more meticulously center-aligned you could be in God’s will, his plans, and agenda for your life, ministry, career, and assignments.

    5. Godly living.

    An important aspect of biblical self-leadership is having a lifestyle worthy of the gospel(Phil 1:27).

    Paul, in most of his preachments, gave out instructions for properly living the new life God has given to us through faith in Christ.

    He was tasked with taking the good news about the infinite riches of Christ to the gentile nation, and to make all people realize how to effectuate God’s secret plan(Eph 3:8-9). If he continued to reiterate a particular way of life and behavior (Ephesians chapters 4 through 6), it means that it is all-important to the execution of God’s good plan and to the profiting of mankind.

    It is a call to excel both in spiritual things and our personal improvement journeys. A call to partner with the Holy Spirit to produce the fruits of the Spirit and modify our character in the right areas to resemble Jesus’s.

    6. Amplifying Ministry performance.

    In this world, we are limited. The constraints of finite time, attention, and energy warrant resourcefulness from a steward leader that would amplify performance and impact.

    By Leveraging the principle of specialization and understanding its cost, a self leader is expected to allocate his or her personal resources toward building both spiritual and non-spiritual capacity.

    Building spiritual capacity; involves spending time communing with God, Spiritual exercises such as spiritual fasts and prayers, and stewarding gifts of the spirit.

    I took care of the depth of my relationship with God and Jesus took care of the breadth of my success.” Prophet T.B Joshua.

    Building Non-spiritual capacity; involves Applying yourself and putting your mind to your assignment. Solving problems, managing personal affairs, and developing the right skills; people skills, personal management skills eg time management, etc.

    7. Moving from Duty to Delight.

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.- Mark 12:30.

    It is very possible that one could be improving their ministry performance solely out of duty— approaching it as merely something to do and do well.

    But when we move from duty to delight, we start to see the task or goal as appealing and not a boring chore. It is serving from a place of consecration and complete dedication to God hinged on our love for Him who is the source of our great essential and eternal joy.

    Going all in serving with heart, soul, body, and mind could produce results on a scale hitherto undreamt of.

    Conclusion.

    Clearly, self-leadership is more than just the ability to master oneself and the pursuit of happiness and actualization.

    It is the execution of your role in God’s plan to bring about or secure some future good.

    Join us as we explore the practice of biblical self-leadership for earthly impact and Kingdom relevance.

    Achinike Amadi
    Hello, I'm Archie(not from the comics). I share lessons from experiential Christianity and curate resources that could help you practice self-leadership.
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