Jesus and Servant Leadership

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-7

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

The world’s idea of leadership is often one where the leader is above his followers. In our society we often see leaders who think they deserve to be elevated and receive special treatment because of their position.   Often leaders alienate their followers by how they lead. In the church some of the same things happen and that type of leadership causes divisions, loss of unity, distrust and it destroys the effectiveness of the church’s witness to others.

So if much of the leadership we see around us is flawed and far from servant based then who can we look to as an example of servant leadership? Philippians 2 tells us clearly that our example is Christ Jesus, that He has modeled the correct attitude. Jesus has the nature of God and equality with Him. He deserves to be worshiped and revered and yet He chose to be made in human likeness and become a servant. As a man, He continued to humble Himself and be obedient to the Father suffering temptation by Satan and experiencing physical limitations by choice. His ultimate act as a servant example was to obey God and be put to death on the cross.   He did not have to do this, He chose to obey God and humble Himself on the behalf of every person who ever lived so that they could receive forgiveness for their sins. This is true servant leadership.

With Christ Jesus as our example and with the Holy Spirit as our guide we are called to humble ourselves and become a servant as we lead others, whether in a position of leadership or in our role as a discipler and teacher. This is not always easy to do, one of Satan’s favorite ways to keep others from following God is to get God’s children to believe the lie that they have rights and deserve certain things. We have to study God’s Word and allow it to change our thinking, our emotions and our very being.

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