Christian Leadership



Self-Control for Those in Command—A Christian is a Christlike man, and for the very reason that he carries heavy responsibilities, he feels it degrading to himself to be in the slightest degree oppressive. If those who are in command have not self-control, they place themselves below the servant. God expects the steward whom he honors to represent the Master. If he cannot represent the patience, the kindness, the long-suffering love, the honesty and self-denial of Christ; if he forgets that he is a servant, and lifts himself up, it would be well for the people to discharge him.—Manuscript 115, 1899 (August 15, 1899). ChL 63.1

The Wrong Direction—Brethren, do not depend on the President of your Conference or the President of the General Conference to think for you. God has given “to every man his work.” When men look to the President of the Conference as their helper in all their difficulties, the bearer of their burdens, the counselor in their perplexities, they are doing the very opposite of that which Christ told them to do.—Manuscript 11, 1883, p. 1. ChL 63.2

Managers and Self-Discipline—Your lack of self-discipline forbids you to take upon yourself such responsibilities as you have contemplated. It means much more than you realize for one to assume that he is fitted for the management of a sanitarium. ChL 63.3

My brother, you need to be converted, and to become as a little child. You should be fearful of following your own judgment. Should you in any way become suspicious of one who does not harmonize with you, you would make trouble. When your will and way is crossed, bitter feelings arise in your heart. You cherish a feeling of hatred toward the one whom you think has made a mistake. You forget that when a brother has made a mistake, you should “seek to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.” We are out of place in cherishing bitter feelings toward any of the Lord's purchased possession.—Letter 285, 1905, pp. 2, 3 (October 2, 1905, to Dr. Wade). ChL 63.4

Control Yourself—We should not be discouraged if things of a trying nature arise. Do not let your passion rise. Control yourself. When things occur which seem unexplainable, which do not appear to be in harmony with the great Counsel Book, do not allow your own peace to be spoiled. Remember that there is a Witness, a heavenly Messenger, by your side, who is your shield, your fortress. Into it you can run, and be safe. But a word of retaliation will destroy your peace, and your confidence in God. Who then is injured?—Yourself. Who is grieved and wounded?—The Holy Spirit of God. ChL 64.1

On every occasion be armed and equipped with “It is Written.” God is your armor, on the right hand, and on the left. A flood of hasty words may seek for expression, but say, No; no. I will not place my feet on Satan's ground. I will not sacrifice my peace and honor as a child of God. I will keep in the only safe path, close beside Jesus, who has done so much for me.... ChL 64.2

Do not be surprised if great changes are made. Do not wonder if the men who felt themselves capable of handling the consciences of their fellowman, and of controlling the minds and talents God has given them should go back, and walk no more with these who believe the truth. The truth makes too great a demand upon them. When they see that they must die to self, and practice the principles of self-denial, they are displeased because they cannot gratify their ambitious desire to rule other men. Their true characters will appear. Some will make total shipwreck of the faith. “They went out from us, but they were not of us,” said John, and so it will be again. ChL 64.3

Hold fast to the truth, the precious, sanctifying truth. You are then in the best of company, and the very highest intelligences are beholding your course of action. You are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Under provocation, your work is to hold the faith and a good conscience, “Which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.”—Letter 17, 1897 (April 7, 1897). ChL 64.4

Perverted Discipline—In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to; milder means will effect far more. Make use of the milder means most perseveringly, and even if they do not succeed, wait patiently; never hurry the matter of cutting off a member from the church. Pray for him, and see if God will not move upon the heart of the erring. Discipline has been largely perverted. Those who have had very defective characters themselves have been very forward in disciplining others, and thus all discipline has been brought into contempt. Passion, prejudice, and partiality, I am sorry to say, have had abundant room for exhibition, and proper discipline has been strangely neglected. If those who deal with the erring had hearts full of the milk of human kindness, what a different spirit would prevail in our churches. May the Lord open the eyes and soften the hearts of those who have a harsh, unforgiving, unrelenting spirit toward those whom they think in error. Such men dishonor their office and dishonor God. They grieve the hearts of his children, and compel them to cry unto God in their distress. The Lord will surely hear their cry, and will judge for these things.—The Review and Herald, May 14, 1895. ChL 65.1

Control Self First—Those who control others should first learn to control themselves. Unless they learn this lesson, they can not be Christlike in their work. They are to abide in Christ, speaking as He would speak, acting as He would act,—with unfailing tenderness and compassion.—The Review and Herald, April 28, 1903. ChL 65.2