In the book of James we have been given a very effective way to distinguish between those who are spiritual leaders and those who are fleshly leaders. A person can be a leader but not be a spiritual leader. Only spiritual leaders should be allowed to minister in any capacity in the Church. Far too often men are ambitious for power in the Church when they do not have the marks or the characteristics of spiritual life. There will always be those who see themselves as great leaders but may be missing the most important ingredients of all to leadership. Those ingredients are the fruits of the Spirit. Without the Spirit of God operating in a person's life they cannot be a spiritual leader regardless of what they profess or boast. I trust my comments on this passage in James will be a blessing to you all.
Why do we need spiritual leaders today? Here is a list of a few of the more important reasons that I can suggest:
1. We need spiritual leaders to discern the times in which we live. 1 Chronicles contains a list of those who assisted David in battle against Saul, among whom were men of the children of Issachar, “which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Without spiritual leaders the church is left unguarded and unprotected from the false doctrines and new errors that may arise as cultures change and nations drift away from their Christian heritage.
2. We need spiritual leaders to alert the church of the presence of wolves in sheep’s clothing. “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock, Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).
3. We need spiritual leaders to guard and to guide the flock in times of spiritual storms, trials and difficult times. (John 10:1-15.)
4. We need spiritual leaders to feed and nurture the flock. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28.)
5. We need spiritual leaders to stir the church out of its lethargy. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:15-17.)
6. We need spiritual leaders to defend the faith. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15.)
God is indeed looking for spiritual leaders that He can thrust into His service. He is looking for people with love and passion for Jesus Christ. They must be people who are willing to spend their lives in tireless devotion to the Master.