How God Forms Us as Leaders

By Mark D. Roberts

September 30, 2015

The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.’”

Genesis 13:14-15

Ice Lake from Afar
God forms us as leaders in a wide variety of ways. Through Scripture and the Spirit, through challenges and community, through suffering and blessing, God shapes our hearts, minds, and behaviors so that our leadership might be both effective and honoring to him.

As we saw in yesterday’s Life for Leaders edition, “Gracious, Faithful Leadership,” Abram, who had been so selfish and unwise in his leadership in chapter 12, chooses a different way, the way of graciousness and faithfulness. We wonder what made the difference.

Of course, we don’t know all of what was going on in Abram’s life since his departure from Egypt. But the narrative of Genesis suggests that God’s activity helped to form Abram as a leader. For example, after risking his wife’s dignity by his selfish deception, God ended up delivering Sarai and blessing Abram with significant wealth. The one who had doubted God in Egypt surely felt reassured by God’s power and grace. This reassurance may very well have led Abram to be gracious to Lot and to trust that God would take care of Abram’s material needs.

I’m also struck by what God did after Abram was gracious to Lot. The Lord spoke to him, saying, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever” (13:14-15). This was an elaboration of the promise God had made to Abram at the beginning of chapter 12. And it comes in the story right after Abram’s decision to allow Lot to take what appears to be the better land. Abram sacrifices, trusting God. God responds by reaffirming and enlarging upon the blessing that will come to Abram and his progeny.

So, in light of this story, how does God shape us as leaders? By pouring out blessing, undeserved blessing, grace upon grace. The more we experience God’s amazing grace in our lives, the more we are able to trust him, the more we are empowered to choose the road of servant leadership rather than self-aggrandizement. Our leadership is based on and shaped by God’s grace, revealed most spectacularly in Jesus Christ, who exercised his leadership by giving his life for us.


Can you think of times when your experience of God’s grace has formed you as a leader?

How is God shaping you and your leadership in these days?

If you really trusted in God’s goodness today, how might your leadership be affected?


Gracious God, thank you for pouring out your grace upon us. Thank you for your faithfulness that boggles our minds and emboldens our hearts. May our leadership, like that of Abram, be shaped by our experience of your grace. May we receive your gifts with gratitude. May we be gracious in sharing them with others. May we trust you more today, and even more tomorrow. Amen.

Photo Credit: “Ice Lake from Afar”CC by OakleyOriginals.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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