What God Looks for in a Leader


Man always looks to someone who appears to be strong and has leadership qualities. In any group, someone rises up to lead the pack – whether it's the loudest guy in the classroom, the one most professional in the office, the one who sounds "anointed" in church, or simply the one who is most vocal among our peers.

However, man's criteria for choosing a leader most often, if not always, differ from how God chooses someone whom He wants to lead His people. "What does He look for in a leader anyway?" we might ask. Well, let's go over our own list of credentials first.

Man's Ideal Leader

When we humans choose a leader without knowing what God wants, we will always look for these qualities in a leader:

  • Has experience;
  • Possesses a certain level of knowledge;
  • Is skilled;
  • Looks "like a leader," probably someone tall or big; and
  • Someone who's vocal about his opinions.

Let's admit it: We almost always look for a good-looking and nice person to be our leader. Sadly, this is not how God chooses a leader.

When God Chooses Leaders

Friends, let's look at how God appointed David – yes, that young shepherd boy – as leader of Israel.

God commanded Samuel to appoint the next king of Israel, telling him in 1 Samuel 16:7,

"Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

First, we see that God doesn't choose leaders the way we do.

God sees the heart of man. No matter how much we learned or trained ourselves to be a leader, our skills won't cut it with God. He sees our hearts, and looks beyond the externals to proceed to what really matters: What's inside us.

So what should we have inside of us that would make God want to use us to lead His people?

In 1 Samuel 13:14, we find Samuel talking to Saul, the deposed king, about what God wants:

"But now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over His people, because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you."

Next, we see that God wants a person who is 'after His own heart.'

God doesn't want someone with skill or stature. He wants someone who loves Him and seeks His heart above all.

OK, so you say you love God and seek Him, but He doesn't make you a leader yet. There's one thing that's missing, one thing that God really wants in a leader. In Acts 13:22, we read Paul testifying why God chose David:

"When [God] had removed [Saul], He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified, saying, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will fulfill My entire will.'"

Lastly, we find that God appointed David because he will do what God wants him to do.

Before you desire to lead God's people, you'll need to love Him, seek Him, and be willing to lay down your own desires to do what God wants.

Friends, let's all long for leaders who will do all of God's will. Let's pray that we would all love Him, seek Him, and obey His whole counsel.