But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17 NIV 1984
The complexity of leadership in today’s ever-changing contexts calls for wisdom from Him who is its source. Kingdom leaders desperately need wisdom as they seek to navigate the many challenges of our day.
But, what does godly wisdom look like? James describes seven characteristics that paint a picture for Kingdom leaders on how to gauge your leadership (and others) against the standards of wisdom from heaven.
The fourth manifestation of godly wisdom is that it is submissive.
Those Kingdom leaders with godly wisdom submit themselves to God as Lord in all areas of life and leadership. The root of their submission is found in their humility – knowing that they are His Creation and they are given leadership responsibility as a stewardship to advance His purposes and for His glory.
Godly, wise leaders submit to the authority of God’s Word. In our post-modern world we are told that all truth is relative and that there is no absolute truth. Kingdom leaders reject this philosophy and base their leadership on the unchanging, final authority of the Bible.
God’s wisdom submits to the authority of earthly governments and spiritual leaders place over us, recognizing that they are established by God. We submit to those leaders for they are appointed by God to watch over us and care for us (see Hebrews 13:17). Note how Jesus modeled this from an early age regarding His submission to His parents. “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” Luke 2:51 ESV
Submission does not mean we have to do whatever is dictated. Certainly we can appeal to an authority over us (see Daniel’s appeal when asked to violate his convictions). But, in our submission, having made our appeal, we submit to the authority of our leaders and entrust ourselves to God for the outcome. Godly leaders do not lead rebellions or insurrections.