"Leadership is the power of influence" J. Maxwell, so what is the 'power of influence'? Influence is made, primarily out of these two things: 1) a positive example of life to follow and 2) charisma (a magnetic affect that draws people to listen/follow you. As leaders in this world we need both! If we only have a positive example of life, and no one is listening/following, then we are not helping anyone to Christ. But rather taking a nice little stroll in the park, to make ourselves feel better. However if we only have charisma then there is a danger of following in the footsteps of Hitler.
We can develop in leadership, Roosevelt when he died, they found out that he was still studying how to develop as a better leader. Abraham Lincoln said "leadership is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm". Even Jesus developed, in Luke 2.52 'and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.' ..If Jesus can, so can we!
What is it? Charisma is not just public speaking, although it can be. Public speaking is more to do with a calling, and some people have that calling others don't. We can have charisma in different contexts, but a dictionary definition is: 'Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.' So can we see why having this piece of influence is such a useful tool in the Kingdom of God, that ability in our lives to have an attractiveness that inspires others to Christ!
John 12.32 says 'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth will draw ALL people to myself'. Firstly it is important to remember that the Cross is attractive to ALL people, no matter what! Jesus didn't say some people, but ALL people. Secondly this scripture is where some Christians get "super-spiritual" and say, "oh, well I don't want to attract people to me, but only to Christ... doesn't John say 'He must increase and I must decrease'??!" FRIENDS, there is such a truth in that, but let me tell you if the world is repulsed by you - they will never want to know your King. If you carry a stinking personality and that repels people from you, they will not care about your Lord. But rather we use this influence and charisma to inspire people - NOT FOR OUR OWN GLORY AND OUR OWN FAME - but for HIS KINGDOM, and HIS GLORY. When people get draw to us by our charisma, we lead them straight to our God. That's when we decrease and He increases. (I hope that makes sense, but if not really won't mind answering any questions, or challenges).
There is such an increase in the church of 'false humility', people pretending to be humble for their own pride or fear. (but that's another talk).... "The devil did grin, for his darling sin, was pride that apes humility." - Southey and Coleridge. Let us just be humble, washing each others feet and doing the things that we think are "below us".
Why do we need it? This is important, because if we don't understand why we need something we are very unlikely to persevere in developing it. Like building muscle or training for a long race, we can't just turn up on the day, charisma doesn't come over night. Maybe 'natural charisma' does, but we're longing for 'SUPER-natural charisma'. A word for 'prosperity' in the Bible, is means to an end. As Christians we should not pursue prosperity or charisma as a end in itself, but rather as a means to an end. That whatever popularity we gain, from our charisma or prosperity we should use for HIS KINGDOM. Already said in this, that Charisma is a powerful tool for the kingdom, if people get attracted to us, and we in turn - point them straight to God. What a tool for the Kingdom we become, 'tool' in a good sense!
We are called to go out and make disciples, it is difficult to get people to listen to you if you haven't got an attractive character. We are called to be salt to the nations, and light in the darkness. If we are not pursuing, this quality we are not fulfilling our calling.
How do we get it? and for those of you who were there on the Thrusday, this is where the biscuits came in handy....7 steps. 7, just when you thought you'd read/heard too much.... You now realize you're only halfway deep. If you're reading, have a break, cup of tea and some toast. Get ready for 7 steps...
The 7 steps all interlink, you need all 7 to have lasting Charisma. Remember, we develop them - you won't get all these overnight, but spend time thinking, praying and working on these aspects. Start at 1 maybe and tackle one a week. But remember even after that, there'll still be room to improve.
1. A sense of Well Being - Joy David said that 'it is well with my soul'. We need to try so hard not to be miserable people. Because miserable people are not really attractive and fun people to be around. This doesn't mean put on a pretend happiness all the time, life does suck at times - and I don't want to underestimate that AT ALL! It does! Bad things do happen! Really bad things! However, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord! Read 1 Sam 30.6. And a really good article to read on 'How to encourage yourself in the Lord' is: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/resources/articles/article_guest0005.pdf (Test and weigh that as you read it though)
Another reason to remain joyful is that God is big and good. And there are so many over-said verses in the Bible that say that, He has good plans for you. (so I won't bore you!) Also Romans tells us how good the Good News is, we are not just allowed into Heaven (=good news) but have been made "Righteousness of God" (Rom 3:21-22) "Co-heirs with Christ" (Rom 8.17) and allowed to sit on the throne with God (Rev 3.21) this = VERY GOOD NEWS... Therefore let us be joyful.
Proverbs gives us a warning 4.23, 'above all else guard your heart'. Usually the first thing that is shaken when we go through difficulties in the Joy in our heart. So sort that out first. Encourage yourself in the Lord, and let you heart stay in Joy. (we've already done a talk on the difference between joy and happiness)
2. Confidence There is a fine-line between confidence, pride, defiance and arrogance. Be very careful, and if you think you are standing firmly CAREFUL, you might fall. Ask God to show you the difference. But Confidence is a crucial part of Charisma, and grows out of having Joy in God. Hebrews 10.35, tells us not to throw away the confidence which has great reward! Confidence in your own abilities and strengths, like David was with his ability to sling a stone.1 Sam 17.45-49 Confident in your God, Daniel 3.17
3. Colorful Personality We were made in the image of a creator let us therefore be creative. Creative people are a delight to be with. Let us develop our ability to use our strengths to be creative. Again, there is a warning, that humor and jokes are not necessarily a sign on 'good charisma', it could just be out of a cry for significance. So discern. However, out of our confidence in our abilities and in our God, let us be creative.
4. Sense of direction We will come to this in more detail next week, as Focus will be the subject of the talk. But focus is an attractive quality. An Atheist once said that, because of the growing unbelief in an infinite being, society has less to live for. So we create temporary goals and things to look forward to. (e.g elections and football matches) So people in this society are desperate for people with vision and focus. We as His children should be focused on His kingdom! Run this race.
5. Consistent, being consistent in our efforts to Glorify Christ, consistent in our joy, Confidence , creativity and focus. No matter what the natural season is, we should be producing fruit of worship, obedience and service to God. Mark 10.12-14, it didn't have fruit because it 'wasn't the season for figs', but Jesus wanted fruit then and there. Let us be consistent in bearing Fruit that honors God.
Also people in the world like reliable people, who will turn up when they say they will, will do what they said they would. etc. Lets not be people/christian's who say a load of 'holy joe' stuff but don't live up to it! Paul commanded Timothy to preach in season and outside season (2 Tim 4.2).
6. Ability to win, this does sound border-line prosperity teaching. So before we all start having a go, or picking up stones to stone me... We need to keep pressing on, run the race, all biblical concepts. And again, some "SUPER-spiritual person" may argue that: "Oh, haven't we already won the victory in Christ", yes! we have! But we cannot use Christs' death as an excuse to be lazy and spend the rest of our lives in a dark room waiting for the coming. We need to press on! Read Philippians 2.12-13.
We need to have a winning mindset, I will win...against this temptation, against this fear, against this trail. And we will win because God turns all things together for the good of those who love Him. But we need to work as well!
True winners also encourage, other people to win. Do not get jealous, when other people have success in Christ. Because God has infinite riches and we are all equal as his sons! Side-note: one way to deal with people who are jealous of you, is to just walk away. Don't try to please, or satisfy or dilute whatever you're doing to please them...just walk away. Jesus did. Mark 6.1-6, ends with Jesus 'went to other villages'.
7. Faithfulness to God and Humility, no matter WHAT! Ups or downs. We remain faithful to God like Daniel 3. And love people. But whatever people think of us, we remain humble, it is not about us - but His glory! When people lift us up, do not let them, but put Jesus' name in your place. Look up what Jesus says he will do to and give to people who he can trust with a little.. and be expectant! Remain humble, we serve a King not ourselves!