How do leaders grow in confidence?

Confident acts of leaders sets the tone of confidence in the environment they influence.  Confidence is essential for the moral and aspirations of a group.  But how do you grow in confidence?

In the following inspirational video De Waal Esterhuizen shares on how to grow in confident leadership.


1 Samuel 17:19-51

[Goliath the Philistine giant challenges the armies of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines; David heard his cursing and said to King Saul]

32  And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33  And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34  But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35  I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36  Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37  And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

38  Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39  and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40  Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41  And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42  And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43  And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44  The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46  This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47  and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” 48  When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him… 51 When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52  And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron…

Observation and reflection questions

  1. David was very confident that he would prevail over the giant veteran worrier Goliath – why? [verses 34-37]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?
  2. King Saul tried to help David to feel secure in battle with the giant – what did he do and why did it not help? [verses 38-40]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?
  3. David was very confident in the face of Goliath’s mockery and threats – where did he place his confidence? [verse 45-47] What does that teach you about gaining confidence?
  4. What was the consequence of David’s act of confidence?  [verses 51-52]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?

Personal reflection questions and prayer

David was a young man with no experience in battle, yet he was the only one willing to face Goliath the giant.  His confidence was in the ever-Present, Living Lord who had carried him through bad situations in the past; he was secure in the love and power of the Lord.  Every challenge he faced helped him grow in confidence, knowing the Lord had preserved him.

  1. David was confident to face the giant because he had slain a lion and a bear in the past. What can you remind yourself in which the Lord had given you success?
  2. Consider your biggest present-day challenge (either personal or family or friend):
    • Why is this a big challenge for you? Can you do it yourself or do you need God’s grace?
    • What have you faced that is similar to this? How has the Lord brought you through past experiences?
    • Look at David’s declaration to the giant in verses 45-47; now make your own declaration of faith in God and “speak to your giant” out loud. By faith say how this situation will end.
  3. Thank God for what he had brought you through in the past. Now pray to God and ask him for confidence and fearlessness to act in faith. Declare your trust in Him!

Leaders’ acts flow from confidence

People look for confident actions in leaders to confirm whether they are worthy of following.

Look at this inspirational introduction of De Waal Esterhuizen on confidence and boldness in leadership ( )


1 Samuel 14:1-23

1  Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison that is on the other side.” …

6  Then Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the LORD will work for us. For nothing restrains the LORD from saving by many or by few.”  7  So his armor bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”  8  Then Jonathan said, “Very well, let us cross over to these men, and we will show ourselves to them. 9  If they say thus to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place and not go up to them. 10  But if they say thus, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up. For the LORD has delivered them into our hand, and this will be a sign to us.” 11  So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden.” 12  Then the men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armorbearer, and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armorbearer, “Come up after me, for the LORD has delivered them into the hand of Israel.” 13  And Jonathan climbed up on his hands and knees with his armorbearer after him; and they fell before Jonathan. And as he came after him, his armorbearer killed them. 14  That first slaughter which Jonathan and his armorbearer made was about twenty men within about half an acre of land.

15  And there was trembling in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and the raiders also trembled; and the earth quaked, so that it was a very great trembling. 16  Now the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and there was the multitude, melting away; and they went here and there… 20  Then Saul and all the people who were with him assembled, and they went to the battle; and indeed every man’s sword was against his neighbor, and there was very great confusion. 21  Moreover the Hebrews who were with the Philistines before that time, who went up with them into the camp from the surrounding country, they also joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22  Likewise all the men of Israel who had hidden in the mountains of Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, they also followed hard after them in the battle. 23  So the LORD saved Israel that day, and the battle shifted to Beth Aven.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Why could this act of Johnathan be described as “confident, fearless action”?
  2. What did he state

was the reason for his confidence and fearlessness? [Hint: verse 6]

  1. So where did Jonathan’s confidence stem from?
  2. Jonathan lead his armorbearer into combat against great odds.
  3. What did Jonathan say which made him follow him into this dangerous situation?
  4. How did Jonathan act which made the armorbearer follow him into this dangerous situation?
  5. What do you know about Jonathan’s character which helped the armorbearer follow him into this dangerous situation?
  6. List the consequences of Jonathan’s confident, fearless action in this uncertain situation (verses 14-16, 20-23).

Personal reflection questions and prayer

Jonathan’s confidence was not based on his training or prestige, but in the character and power of the God Whom he served.  His confident, fearless action did not only secure a battle won, but caused the opposition to fear and falter and his comrades to also gain strength and confidence.

  1. Which aspect of your life do you display most confidence?
  2. Why do you feel confident in this area?
  3. Which aspect of your life do you lack the most confidence?
  4. Why do you lack confidence in this area?
  5. Memorize the underlined phrase by Paul and personalize it in a prayer to God as you aspire to understand and grow in confidence:

1 Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”



The Character of a Leader: Hopeful Confidence

“I have a dream” said Dr Martin Luther King, and the world was never the same.  Indeed, “leaders are merchants in hope” as Napoleon is famous for saying; they paint a picture of a better future and by it inspire others to make these dreams a reality.

To give a wider contemporary context to our reading of today, look at this short video on inspiring through hope (


Deuteronomy 11:7-12

7  For your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD that he did.  8  You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9  and that you may live long in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10  For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. 11  But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12  a land that the LORD your God cares for. The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

Observation and reflection

Context: Moses is addressing the Israelites who were wondering in the Wilderness for 40 years and reminds them of the need for obedience to inherit and enjoy the Promised Land.

  1. How did Moses describe the land these wanderers were about to possess?
  2. Notice the rich description of the Promised Land.  How does it compare to the environment which they have known for the past 40 years?
  3. Imagine standing in the dessert where you have wandered for 40 years, hearing this speech from Moses about your future.  Briefly note the thoughts and feelings each of these phrases stir in the heart:
  • your eyes have seen all the great work of the LORD”
  • “that you may live long in the land”
  • “[the land] that the LORD swore to your fathers to give”
  • “a land flowing with milk and honey”
  • “not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come”
  • “drinks water by the rain from heaven”
  • “a land that the LORD your God cares for.”
  • “The eyes of the LORD your God are always upon it”

Personal reflection and Application

Moses repeatedly encouraged the wandering Israelites by reminding them that God has prepared a rich, good land for them, and that the conquest and conflict they endure is with the effort.  Moses knew that hope inspires effort, gives direction and reason, and impels the hearer to go on.

  1. What motivates you in difficult times? What fuels you and directs you as you go on?
  2. Think about your personal feats of endurance. Which of channels of hope have in the past pulled you through? And how did it help?
    • Prophesy from God (directly or through a friend)
    • Visions, dreams or pictures
    • A clear goal such as degree, desired weight or completing a project
    • Friends or team members who kept you on track (accountability)
  3. Prayerfully consider both your promises from God and godly aspirations in one aspect of your life (medium-term). Envision what you desire to accomplish.
    • Draw a picture that depicts that goal.
    • Write it as a mission statement – use aspirational words that stir your heart!

Paste these up where you will see them daily, and show them to your spouse or best friend.  Ask them to remind you of these!


Pray that God would open your eyes to see what he has prepared for you, and that the Holy Spirit may make you a fountain of hope to whoever crosses your path.  And pray that you may know the power and love of God towards you. [Ephesians 1:16-19]

True leaders lead by compulsion

Leadership is not a philosophy – leadership is action. And you don’t need a title to be a leader – you simply need to lead by taking action!

Before reflecting on today’s devotional text, take a moment to watch this short introductory video on Leadership as Compulsion (


Numbers 25:1-15

1  While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2  These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3  So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 4  And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” 5  And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

6  And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7  When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8  and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.  9  Nevertheless, those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

10  And the LORD said to Moses, 11  “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12  Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13  and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.'” 14  The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father’s house belonging to the Simeonites. 15  And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the tribal head of a father’s house in Midian.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. Let’s review the incident by briefly answering the following questions:
    • Moses called the nation to the Tabernacle of God (or “tent of meeting”) – why? [verses 1-3]
    • To whom did Moses give the instruction to execute these promiscuous offenders? [verse 5]
    • What did Zimri do and why was it so offensive – especially in the sight of the repenting assembly? [verse 6]
    • The whole nation saw what was happening but only one man responded. Who was he, what was his vocation/office and what action did he take? [verse 7-8]
    • Phinehas took descisive action.  How did God respond to the nation and how did God reward Phinehas? [verses 8, 10-13]
  2. The whole nation gathered and heard the command of the Lord regarding sexual promiscuity with the idol-worshiping people locals. Everyone saw Zimri’s bold contemptuous action, but only Phinehas had the courage to act.
    • Based on your experience with people, why do you think no-one else took action?
    • Based on Moses command earlier, who would you think should have taken action first?
    • Who was the true leader in this story?

Personal reflection and application

The nation of God was in a bad shape morally, resulting in a plague.  Moses called the nation to repent and reform, but at that moment a man showed contempt to God at the hight of the nation’s remorse.  None of the leaders dared move, but a young priest felt compelled to take decisive action, bringing an end to the plague and earning God’s reward for it.

  1. Based on past situations…
    • …would you be more inclined to step in and do what is necessary, or would you hope someone else does it first?
    • …would you be more inclined to confront someone who does something blatantly wrong or would you look away and hope someone else does that?
    • …would you be more inclined to wait for someone else to initiate a conversation in a difficult relationship, or would you initiate that conversation?
    • …what caused you to hesitate from taking decisive action in critical situations? [think it through, pray that the Lord help you see your motives]
  2. Memorize Peter’s instruction to “add to your faith courage…” (2 Peter 1:5).
    1. Commit in prayer today to not fear failure or ridicule, but courageously stand up for what is right.
    2. Keep this phrase in mind throughout the day; let it reveal your motives and let it stir you to decisive action for what is right and good.


Leadership requires a leader

The world is always looking for methods. God is always looking for a person.

As you prepare for todays devotional, this short video will help sketch a wider contemporary context to bring the truth of the Biblical example a bit closer to home (


1 Timothy 4:12-16

12  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  14  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  15  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.  16  Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Observation and reflection questions

Context: Paul left young Timothy to oversee a large church in Ephesus.  Apparently he felt out of depth and intimidated by his youth and his big task.  In this section Paul again instructs Timothy how to reaffirm his leadership over this big church.

  1. Read through the text again and phrase-by-phrase suggest synonyms for the character qualities that Paul exhorts Timothy to develop. In other words find one word that describes a person who does these things.
    1. “let no one despise you” (v12a)
    2. “example in speech, conduct, love, faith, purity” (v12b)
    3. “until I come devote yourself to…” (v13)
    4. “Do not neglect the gift you have…” (v14)
    5. “practice these things” (v15)
    6. “keep a close watch on yourself and the teaching” (v16)
    7. “persist in this” (v16)
  2. Paul calls Timothy to be an example to the church in Ephesus (v12). What do you understand with his instructions
    1. “be an example in speech”
    2. “be an example in conduct”
    3. “be an example in love”
    4. “be an example in faith”
    5. “be an example in purity”
  3. Notice how Paul’s instruction to Timothy starts with conviction in his heart, then his personal devotional life, then his public example, and then his leadership responsibility and influence. What does this suggest about the way to developing a godly character?

Personal relfection and application

Young Timothy was intimidated to lead such a big church in Ephesus, but Paul did not suggest methods to handle this big congregation. Rather, he challenged him to find confidence from conviction, to be an example in godliness, and remain faithful in devotion and duty.  Paul’s answer to unsure leadership was character growth – after all, Timothy’s conduct is what will be emulated.

  1. How would you describe your character in 5 words? (Think of how people close to you would describe you.)
  2. When you consider your public reputation vs your true character – in which areas are there discrepancies? What aspects of your character will cause shame if being exposed publically? Write down one or two aspects.
    1. Talk to a mature Christian friend about these discrepancies; confess it all to him/her and pray together about your character.
  3. Look at Paul’s instruction to the young leader Timothy. How have you grown and how could you still grow in:
    1. Confidence through conviction.
    2. Example in godliness (“in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”)
    3. Devotion, faithfulness and persistence.


Pray about your example as a leader – your real character.   Thank God for the growth that you have enjoyed until now, and pray that God will help you grow Christlikeness.



Motivational Gifts 2 – the perceiver

The aim of the devotional bible study is to grow in the understanding and appreciation of motivational gift of the perceiver (also called “prophet”).


Luke 3:1-20

1  …the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

4  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, 6  and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

7  He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8  Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  10  And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”  11  And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

12  Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  13  And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”

14  Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

15  As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18  So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.

19  But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20  added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.


Note: in the reading of today’s Text we will focus on the character and motives of John the Baptist to better understand the motivational gifts of the perceiver / prophet. This is one of the seven motivational gifts (also called “the gifts of the Father” according to 1 Corinthians 12:4-6) each person is born with which drives his/her actions.

  1. Perceiver / prophetically motivated people generally have the following characteristics. How can you identify them in the personality and ministry of John the Baptist?  Comment and give verse references from the Scripture above.
    1. Honesty and truth is central to their life.
    2. They have a strong sense of justice and have a strong sense of conviction.
    3. They are driven by obedience, and seek to move others towards it.
    4. They crave sincerity and despise hypocrisy – they want to see change in others.
    5. Their life radiates moral excellence and goodness, and inspire that in others.
    6. They are generally confident people who speak up for the truth even if it hurts.
  2. Where did John the Baptist spend most of his time? What does that suggest of the relationships of the perceiver motivated person?
  3. Considering the imprisonment and later execution of John the Baptist (Luke 9:7-9), what honorable characteristic do we see in perceiver motivated people? [hint: why was he locked up and later killed?]


  1. Looking at John the Baptist as an example of a perceiver / prophetically gifted person – what should a person with this motivational gift be cautious of when confronting people? [hint: how can they be easily misunderstood in terms of their behavior?]
  2. Considering the characteristics listed in Observation question 1 above, why do we consider perceiver motivated people as “gifts from God the Father”? i.e. how do they benefit me, you and the world around us?

Application and Prayer

Note: If you have not completed the free online motivational gift test, do so now:

  1. Are you a strong perceiver / prophet motivated person? Considering the life example of John the Baptist:
    1. What are you grateful for about your gift, which you must cherish?
    2. What must you be cautious about in your interactions with others?
    3. What must you cherish with all your heart and guard with all your strength? [hint: if you betray this you betray yourself and your witness falls apart]
    4. Thank God for how he made you, and pray that you may grow in a love for the truth, a sensitivity to His Spirit, for confidence and humility to speak the truth in love, and lastly for grace to walk in integrity all your days.
  2. Who do you know that are strongly perceiver / prophet motivated?
    1. Thank them for their good influence in your life – be specific about what they have challenged you with and how that helped you walk in righteousness and the fear of God.
    2. Thank God for them and their influence for the good in your life. Pray that God will bless with a greater love for the truth, sensitivity to His Spirit, greater boldness and humility to speak the truth in love, and that they may live true to their God-given conscience.