*Taken from the iDisciple Publishing release, Legacy of Leaders: A 40-Day Journey with the Men of God’s Word
Throughout Scripture, God uses the stories of His people to give us precepts, principles, and patterns. All of which are intended to be applied daily in our own lives. That personal connection to Scripture makes our engagement with His Word crucial to our spiritual growth and maturity.
Here are five simple principles gleaned from the Bible that can help us address a cultural problem by offering a biblical application.
Principle #1: A reputation above reproach is built on a path of one right decision at a time.
Problem: Our culture of immediacy and opportunity wants everything now. Waiting has become an annoyance, so shortcuts have become the norm. This paradigm has negatively impacted the once sought-after qualities of integrity, honor, and faithfulness.
Example: In Genesis 6, the world was filled with evil and corrupt behavior. But Noah was the one exception. Day after day, he walked in faith with God and established a good name among the people. His choice to go against the culture led to favor and salvation from God.
Application: Building favor with God and the people in our lives takes time—day by day, moment by moment, one right decision at a time. We cannot rush strong character and a good reputation.
Principle #2: Do all you can with what you have right where you are.
Problem: Busyness and endless demands can easily rule the day, causing us to focus more on what we can’t get done than what we can. Feeling overrun and underappreciated, our productivity and attitude can suffer.
Example: In Judges 3:31, Shamgar singlehandedly saved Israel using not a sword, but an ox goad, a long stick used to herd cattle. Faced with the choice of running, hiding, or offering excuses of “I’m just a farmer, what can I do?” he grabbed his best tool of the trade and got busy, saving his people.
Application: From a tough task to an impossible deadline, as leaders, we can adopt Shamgar’s principle: “I will do all I can with what I have right here I am.”
Principle #3: To walk into the winner’s circle, we must leave the comfort zone.
Problem: As leaders, we want success. Yet we often learn to focus on the wrong factors to win—big numbers, big names, and big talk. We think, “If only I had that budget, that person, or that title.”
Example: In Judges chapters 6 and 7, God takes the unlikely and apprehensive Gideon down from an army of 32,000 to 10,000 to 300. Not at all the direction any of us want when fighting a war. But God would end up using faith as the only weapon, as He won the day without a scratch on the home team.
Application: Inside our circles of influence, we have to consistently make the intentional choice to leave the comfort zone to walk into the winner’s circle. The two will never overlap.
Principle #4: We have to be bridge builders, not bridge burners.
Problem: We live with terms and paradigms today such as “haters,” “trolls,” and “cancel culture.” Talking louder becomes the choice over listening more. Being combative wins out over showing compassion.
Example: In Luke 15, Jesus told the story of the prodigal son, but the real lesson was in the response of the father. He chose victory over victimization, righteousness over being right, and reconciliation over rebellion.
Application: The best reason to never burn a bridge is we just might need to walk back over it someday. The best reason to build a bridge is we create a path to bless others.
Principle #5: A leader encourages, allows for, and accepts that anyone can change.
Problem: Today, because of the prevalence of the internet and social media, people are quickly written off based on the last thing they did. Juries are out and judges are in. Pedestals are built to push people off.
Example: In Acts 9, the most dangerous enemy to the early Christ-followers suddenly became their greatest ally. Jesus proved how His transformational power could literally change anyone. The impact was so radical, even his name was altered from Saul to Paul.
Application: A true leader today will give someone the benefit of the doubt, the opportunity to change, the encouragement that he or she can become exactly what God intended and designed. Belief can turn to being.