It has been a while since I last wrote a blog. I do apologize for the break in writing and hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family as I did with mine. Due to the length of the subject, David, we will be dividing this blog into more than one. So here is the first part of leadership: a heart for God.
Leadership is an important issue in both the secular and Christian arenas. Some qualities are important and applicable to both. Qualities such as general integrity and the ability to make good decisions are necessary wherever one leads.
But there is one thing that must be true and can only be true of spiritual leaders. The spiritual leader must have a heart for God. This one thing must drive the one who would influence others for Christ. His heart must be driven by an intense desire for God and God’s glory. Everything else must line up under this. This was true of every great spiritual leader in scripture, and it will always be true. It was true of king David whom God Himself called “a man after His own heart”. David was obviously a man “of like passions” with us, but this one thing marked him. He was a man whose heart was focused intently upon God and His glory, and when he strayed, this focus always drew him back to his God. The one who would influence others to know and serve God must have such a focus.
But what were the elements in David’s life that produced such a heart for God?
1. The early Development of a heart for God: The earlier one develops a heart for God, the more it will become an entrenched part of his or her thinking and leadership. David had the privilege of a Godly heritage: “You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name,”[Prov.61:5b]. But the development of a heart for God came in his early years, perhaps as he watched his father’s sheep alone. His brothers had the opportunity to do more glorious and impressive things, but evidently none developed his heart for God. The protecting of his father’s sheep gave him the opportunity for hours of meditation upon God’s word and to see God work on his behalf when the task was too much for him. It is evident that by his mid-teens David had a heart for God that stood out among his brothers.
Not all of us have the privilege of the Godly heritage David possessed. And many of us come to Christ later in life. But it behooves each of us to develop a heart for God and His glory as soon as possible. In the financial services industry emphasis is placed on starting early, when it comes to preparing financially for the future. If you start early, time is on your side. The later you wait, the more investment it takes and the harder it is to catch up.
When it comes to developing a heart for God, one cannot start too early. And if we want our children to develop such a heart, we must invest in their spiritual future as early as possible. Give them a big view of God by pointing them to Him in every situation and showing them how God is teaching you to trust Him. Developing spiritual leaders for tomorrow comes as we do all we can to give them a heart for God early in life, because when it comes to developing a heart for God, the earlier the better.
2. The Essential Testing of a Heart for God: No matter how early a heart for God is developed and not matter how evident that heart for God is, it will always be necessary for the heart to be tested. David himself said; “In my prosperity, I said, ‘I will never be moved.’” It seems relatively easy to have a heart for God when life’s pressures are minimal. I say that it “seems” easy because prosperity and ease can be the test of a heart for God as well.
David’s first recorded test came relatively early in life. At first glance it may appear to be merely an opportunity for a precocious young man to show his metal and prove his manhood. It may seem to be a young man’s first stage in an illustrious and successful military career. But David’s response to the situation shows us that it is much more than that, and he viewed it as such. This was a test of David’s heart for God, and this event would distinguish him from other men in that regard. Yes, it is the account of David and Goliath, but his view of Goliath and his view of God make it much more. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1Sam. 17:26). Neither king Saul’s offer of his daughter’s hand in marriage nor the possibility of defeat at the hands of a superior foe were anything compared to the reputation of his God. “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God” (1Sam. 17:36).