Then Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “The men you killed at Tabor—what were they like?” “Like you,” they replied. “They all had the look of a king’s son.” Judges 8:18 (NLT)
Gideon had a look about him – one that presented itself like a prince, the son of a king. When in his presence there must have been something about him that made others notice a difference between the way he carried himself and others. It was the presence of a leader.
Leaders must look and act the part and Kingdom leaders must carry themselves in such a way as knowing that they are representing the King of Kings. This is not to suggest that one must pretend to be something we are not, nor does it mean that we must flaunt our position, power, or authority. This will exude naturally as we grow in understanding our sense of purpose, destiny, and responsibility to accomplish His plans for and through us as His servants.
1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that, “… People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (NLT) While the second part of this verse is most important, the first part is also true. People do look and judge at outward appearance. While Samuel is reminded not to judge leadership potential or base his selection on what he sees externally, people do still look at the externals.
As Kingdom leaders, we serve the King of Kings as His representative. Those around us are forming opinions about Him based upon what they see and perceive in us. Certainly that opinion will be better informed as they get to know us more and experience our Christlike leadership. But, first impressions are made and we want that to be as potentially positive as possible.
It’s the hard-learned lessons of contextualization of the messenger and the message when crossing cultures for the sake of the Gospel. We don’t want people around us to stumble over anything except Christ alone. Let Christ be the sole offense, if indeed they are offended, and not me His ambassador.
And so, we think about what impressions we leave as we interact with others. We refrain from having certain public opinions about a lot of things that may detract from our primary purpose. We limit our involvements in endeavors that may confuse the message of our leadership or distract from our mission. We are aware at all times that, though we may have many personal rights, we can choose not to exercise those rights for His sake.
Are you self-aware of how others are perceiving you and the One you serve? Is there something that needs to change to create a better impression?