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October 12, 2010

Leading Confidently

One of the greatest monsters that I wrestle with in my leadership is being confident in the calling and gifting God has for me. I battle the usual suspects of insecurity, fear and the obsessive need to compare myself to others. These enemies to my confidence can get the best of me if I let them.

One of my favorite leaders from Scripture is Deborah. I love to unpack the layers of her leadership and study the confidence she displayed in her calling.

If you need a refresher on the story, hop over to Judges 4 & 5.

Reading Deborah’s story always encourages me to keep my focus on God, his calling and his voice in my life. When I’m doing that, fear, insecurity and comparison quickly take a backseat.

Here’s what I observe to be the keys to Deborah’s confidence:

1) She Earned Influence
Deborah was a prophetess and judge of Israel at a time when it was unusual for a woman to serve in such positions of leadership. But Barak, the leader of the Israelite army, and 10,000 men were willing to follow her lead and trust that God was speaking through her. To earn that kind of trust, I can only assume that she must have displayed consistency of character, love for people and sound judgment in her roles as prophetess and judge. When everything was on the line, she had earned the influence to lead well.

2) She Displayed Incredible Strength
I can’t imagine living in the times that she lived in. Israel was weak, defenseless and far from God. I suspect moral was low and hope was barely a flicker. But Deborah had hope and a vision from God and out of this she summoned the strength to still the voices of doubt and timidity and as one author describes, she“called the people to battle, leading them out of idolatry and restoring their dignity as God’s chosen ones.”

3) She Showed Consistent Humility
Deborah held the highest spiritual, political and military positions during that time of Israel’s history, and yet I love the fact that in Judges 5:7, Deborah doesn’t refer to herself as judge, prophetess or leader. She describes herself as “a mother in Israel.” She didn’t need to prove herself or remind others of her positional power.

4) She Faithfully Obeyed
Deborah drew her confidence from her relationship with God. God gave her the directive for the battle with Sisera, and she didn’t lose sight of this even in the heat of it. Judges 4:14 says, “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?’” After the battle was finished she and Barak sang a victory song in which they repeatedly thank God.

Deborah’s story reminds me of God’s faithfulness through our obedience. I’m sure she didn’t sign up for all that her leadership would demand, but her confidence was in God’s power, not her own. She was pursuing God’ glory, not hers, and as a result the people she led experienced freedom for 40 years. That’s remarkable influence!

What challenges do you face in being confident in your calling as a leader?


I love how you mention that she "earned influence." Sometimes I'm tempted to display my degree or claim honor when I haven't earned that place of influence. If I serve instead and abandon notions of prestige, I end up being given more positions of leadership. Thank you so much!

having influence over others to follow God's call is the toughest challenge. Just by being in that leadership position doesn't give you influence.

building the Christ like character to gain influence is the way to go about it.

When dealing with people, character matters a lot even to God. You cannot be respected if you have unstable character. People must know where you are coming from and also where you are going to be able to work or follow you. That is called INFLUENCE. Our character is what speaks about us even when we are no more, just like Deborah. Today, most people wants to force respect on themselves simply because they occupy a certain possition. Christians today should emulate their old testament counterparts in humility, love, respect, etc

Thank you ever so much for the insight brought in Deborah's life. It is easy to get caught up in the 'rush for title' and lose focus of the essence. Also, it is easy to strive for mastery while losing the people to whom the service is rendered. Deborah earned her influence and maintained it! May God give us grace to finish well.

I love the comments you all have added about influence. Influence is about the little things, our daily interactions, the things that seem insignificant...

Thanks for continuing the discussion!

God has told me that I need to be doing something with the Youth of my church. Thing is I don't know what that "something" is. Where I struggle is in getting started. How can I do anything if I don't know what He wants me to do? I'm slowing learning that I just need to be there for/with them. I'm learning that He will reveal what I need to do/be when it's time for me to know!

Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

Thanks for another informative blog.

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