Character Qualifications of Leadership
From the book “The Making of a Leader” by Frank Damazio

Negative Character Traits and Their Expression

1.Perilous times ( difficult, hard to bear, and troublesome days): the church should have a healthy fear of the perverse days in which she is living.

2.Men shall be lovers of their own selves: self-centered and in willful pursuit of sin.

3.Covetous ( fond of money, in love with money) to have a wrong value system, wanting something that belongs to someone else.

4.Boasters ( braggarts, empty pretenders) to boast about ungodly or false things in an ungodly pride of self.

5.Proud (haughty, appearing above others) to have the wrong evaluation of oneself and others; to be blinded to the truth of one's lowliness.

6.Blasphemous ( disrespectful against God or man): to have no respect of the value of anything, to slander the things of God, the church, and all positive values ordained by God.

7.Disobedient to parents: to become a part of the spirit of the day, which is rebellion and lawlessness.

8.Unthankful ( lack of gratitude) to ungratefully, unthankfully take advantage of others.

9.Unholy  profane, immoral) to live only for the satisfaction of one's sensual desires.

10.Without natural affection (sexual perversion, abortion, child beating, unfeeling) to pervert what is good and natural in order to assert one's self; homosexuality, sodomy, lesbianism, incest, bestiality.
11.Truce Breakers (cannot keep promises) to be untrue to one's promises, to cause distrust in one's word.
12.False accusers (Liars, bribers) to oppress others with unverified, undocumented criticism.
13.Incontinent (without self-control or moral restraint) to be so far lost in the love of sin that one impulsively sins, and has no control over one's moral behavior.
14.Fierce (Untamed, Savage) to behave as a passionate, unthinking beast toward others.
15.Despisers of those who are good: to belittle or to treat shamefully the righteous actions of others.
16.Traitors ( betrayers) to lack a sense of loyalty to the true laws of friendship.
17.Heady (rash, reckless, headstrong) to be ruled only by one's will, to be a reckless thinker, to have a darkened mind.
18.High-minded (conceited, proud) to be blinded by the pride of the intellect; to have pride in one's knowledge.
19.Lovers of pleasure more than of God ( fulfilling one's own sinful desires) to have a wrong perspective on life, a value system overcome by temporal influences.
20.Having a form of godliness (external religiosity without a changed life) a hypocritical lifestyle.
21.Scoffers (mockers, ridiculers) to consistently mock and ridicule the righteous and holy.
22.Some shall depart from the faith: to backslide and reject God's plan for one’s life and basic Bible teaching.
23.Giving heed to seducing spirits ( to cause to wonder, to lead astray) to allow oneself to be deceived, to invite the devil to lead one astray from the truth.
24.Doctrines of devils ( teachings from the pit of Hell) to require abstinence from meat or lifetime celibacy, to add non-biblical rules to the church.
25.Having a seared conscience (no inner sense of right and wrong) to lose one's sensitivity to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit through continued sin.

This list of negative character traits supplies the leader with a mirror for judging his or her own and other's character. Sincere reflection on the list can be discouraging; you must remember that character is cultivated after a person comes to Jesus, and that character is not a freely given gift of the Holy Spirit. There are no shortcuts- character development comes only from discipline of the flesh. It takes time and dedication. When you can see your own need of character development, you have reached the beginning of that development. A leader must open every area of his or her life to change from the Lord, so that he or she will be more able to minister change to others.

"To enjoy the things we ought, and to hate the things we ought, has the greatest bearing on excellence of character." Aristotle

God's Dealings in Character Development

A reading of 2nd Peter 1:1-11 in the Amplified Bible will help the reader understand God's process of developing character in a Christian's life. The following diagram gives a general outline of these versus:

The Believers Responsibility

Repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ is the responsibility of every believer. The provision of the divine nature through the power of the Holy Spirit belongs to the Divine sovereignty of the Lord. Every believer is responsible to apply this provision, and to pursue fulfillment of the goal of God's provision. God has positionally given believers all things pertaining to life and godliness. Believers have all that it takes to develop a mature Christian character as they follow the Lord. But if Christians do not do the things necessary for these promises to be fulfilled, the scripture speaks of them losing what could have been their own. Such Disobedience or misunderstanding has made many Christians and ministries barren and unfruitful in the Body of Christ today.  Many leaders are blind and have no vision from the Lord because they have not obeyed the word of God. Leadership, as well as the body of Christ at large, must develop character through the inner disciplines of the Holy Spirit.

The "adding" of a series of disciplines referred to by Peter describes the Christian’s walk and growth in Christ. The power to accomplish these disciplines is provided through Jesus Christ. But the process of actually accomplishing them is determined by each Christian’s attitude of response to the dealings of God in his or her life. God wants to develop character. When a believer lacks the discipline to develop his character, the Lord himself will provide learning experiences and circumstances to help him. This learning process is commonly called "the dealings of God."

In 2nd Timothy 2:6, Paul exhorted Timothy to be the first partaker of the fruit, since he was the husband of it. This is a natural illustration, borrowed from the farmer being the first to taste his crops. It has a spiritual application in the work of the Lord. If the body of Christ is going to be developed in character through the dealings of God, the leader must be the " first partaker."  That is, he must be the first to allow God to change his character.

Faithfulness of God's Dealings

The following scriptures shed light upon the development of character through the dealings of God:

Philippians 1:6
I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that he which began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ Our Lord ( right up to the time of His return) developing that good work in you and perfecting you, and bringing you to full completion. ( Amplified Bible)

Psalm 32:4-5
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me.

Hebrews 10:32
But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, we endured a great fight of affliction.

Psalm 18:30
As for God, his way is perfect, the word of the Lord is tried.

Psalm 12:6
The words of the Lord are pure words, as silver is tried in the furnace of the earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 119:67
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept thy word.

Hebrews 12: 7
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons.

Most if not all of God's leaders experienced the real development of character through the dealings of God. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and even the Lord Jesus Christ all experienced the deep dealings of the Lord. Now, let's look at four different aspects of the dealings of God. First, we will look at the need for the dealings of God. Second, we will define words describing the process. Third, we will discover the purpose of these dealings. Finally, we will see what attitude responses one should maintain to guard and foster God's dealings in the formation of character.

The Need for God's Dealings

Fallen Nature.
All of us are born in iniquity and shaped in sin. We all have a fallen nature with which we must cope throughout our lives. The fallen nature of man is not in harmony with any of the things of the Lord. Scripture frequently refers to man's fallen nature as " the old man," the " carnal self" and " sinful nature," or "the flesh." At times, this degenerate nature of man will cause us to grow cold concerning the things of God. At times the Christian goes through complacency and indifference, even though the Lord has set before us the glorious goal of perfection.

Spiritual maturity is the biblical goal for all of us who are in Christ Jesus. But during times of discouragement, our lower nature urges us away from this goal. At times, man's carnality does not want him to develop his character as the scripture commands. This and spiritual laziness in man's nature is the first reason why we need the dealings of the Lord. Every Christian needs the dealings of the Lord to motivate him on to spiritual perfection (Hebrews 6:1-3). 

(Amplified Bible)

6 Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,

2 With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]

3 If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].

Secret Sins.  The second reason why every Christian needs the dealings of God is a need for the revealing of hidden areas of sin in his or her life. God reveals deep concealed areas of sin to help us grow. The scripture tells us that God is the revealer of such secrets.

Examples of this:

Deuteronomy 29:29  "the secret things belong unto the Lord."

Daniel 2:22, 28  "God is the revealer of Secrets"

1 Corinthians 10:26-27  "all things will be revealed by fire"

Matthew 10: 26-27  "Fear them not there for colon for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hidden that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak me in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that treat ye upon the housetops."

God must reveal our secret sins to prevent them from destroying us and our ministries. It is not enough that he himself knows these areas; he reveals them to us because it is our responsibility to forsake them. To do this, however, the Christian greatly needs the grace of God, because human nature only seeks to cover up its weaknesses and faults.

Man's desire to hide his sins continually set him in conflict with the nature of God. Our situation is still the same as Adam and Eve, who hid themselves from God as soon as they realized they had sinned against Him ( Genesis 3:8). God has given Christians the Holy Spirit to reveal their areas of spiritual need. The Holy Spirit searches every Christian’s heart to reveal sins that must be abandoned. The word " reveal" means to take off the cover. The word "conceal" means to hide by covering, to veil from sight, or to cover over the matter. God is trying to take the cover off man's sin, while man tries to hold on to that cover. The Bible not only declares God as the revealer of secrets, but also describes man as the concealer secret faults:

Psalms 19: 12 " cleanse thou me from secret faults"
Psalms 90:8 " our secret sins are revealed in thy presence"
Psalm 51:6 " thou desirest truth in the inward parts, in the hidden Parts dial Wilt make me to know wisdom"
Psalm 32:3, 5 " when I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away oh, but I acknowledged my sin to thee, and my iniquity I did not hide"

Several men in scripture illustrate the effect of secret sin.  At the beginning of their lives, unfortunately, were in great contrast to their ends. They started well but ended tragically.

Man bears the image of God; men can begin well. But if men hide secret sins in unrepentance, they end by destroying their lives or Ministries. Leaders, especially, should take note of this truth. Secret sins have caused the fall of many of the Lord's leaders, at the end of their ministries, or even in the very height of their service. The scriptural observation, "How are the mighty fallen!" Is an ever-present cry of the spirit of God. In the account of David's mourning for Jonathan and Saul (2 Samuel 1:17-27), three times David cries out, "How the mighty fallen!"  In this lamentation, David describes " the mighty" in the beginning of their lives and ministries as:

?Beautiful v19
?Mighty v19
?Lovely and pleasant v23
?Swifter than Eagles v23
?Stronger than lions v23
?Able to close others in Scarlet v24
?Able to put ornaments of God on others v24

How many men of God have started out this way! Many Ministers of the Lord have been beautiful in the sight of the Lord and the Lord's people at the beginning of their ministries. Many were mighty and strong in the Lord. Unfortunately, however, many of their mighty exploits have only ended in ruin and shame. Why? One of the main reasons why is because they did not forsake their secret sins when the Lord revealed them to their hearts. If every leader would only remember that the purpose of the dealings of God-to prevent a fall by rooting out secret sins-every leader would seriously and immediately respond to the inner convictions of the Holy Spirit.

In the next section, we will study some Bible characters that begin well but ended in tragedy. The list will show their good beginnings, their names. there secret sins, and their tragic endings.

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