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In 1 Thessalonians 4:11, NIV Paul admonishes "and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you," The Phillips translation states, "Be busy with your own affairs and do your work yourselves." Wuest further transliterates, "that you make it your ambition to be living a quiet life, that you are cultivating the habit of attending to your own private affairs, and that you are working with your hands, even as I gave you a charge."

In other words, "Be ambitious to mind your own business."

No, this does not suggest zero accountability among ourselves. However, it does imply us to work on ourselves. "To be quiet" or "live a quiet life" is to not succumb to fanatical behaviors and restlessness in being and using a "magnifying glass" into the lives of others. Remember, as profound, spiritual or mature we may think of ourselves, we are challenged in Romans 12:3 "Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you." It means to be inwardly calm, living peaceable and being free from hostility toward others so that they will witness the transforming power of Holy Spirit through you: compassion and love, not condemnation and lurking.

Be less exuberant.

Be less frantic.

The quiet life is anti-ethical to the modern life of entertainment and excitement as religion. That religion's god is self, its priests are celebrity personalities and its scriptures are social media experts and platforms. As leaders, we need a quiet life so we can take time to give attention to listening to Holy Spirit, to tend to our gardens or our own knitting, or are we too idle commanding, charging, instructing and looking at others that we fail to see the beams in our own eyes? Is the expectation that those in our realm of influence obey our insights exhibiting unhesitating and unqualified obedience (before being discipled to hear the voice of the Lord and understanding of the Word)?

Leaders who love others do not stir up trouble.

They don't stick their noses in other people's personal matters. Nor do they engage in "condemning rhetoric," but rather model "compassionate responding." We must build off love and not spend our time assessing other's motives and evaluating other people's lives, which can equate to spiritual bullying antics. When leaders engage in deliberately and spiritually regulating people, that action removes the role of Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and replaces the mirror of the Word as the litmus test for character and Christ as the model of kingdom living.

Notice the Spiritual Bully and Servant Leader pendulum:

  • Spiritual Bullies look at those “under” and around them as objects to serve them, subjects to control and the thought police of others

  • Servant Leaders see those around them as someone for whom Christ died, and desire to know what Holy Spirit is doing in their life and to come alongside what God is doing.

  • Spiritual Bullies are more concerned with how those with whom they work will affect their character and reputation as a leader;

  • Servant Leaders give their character and reputations over to God, knowing that God’s evaluation of their actions, intentions and motives is of greater importance.

  • Spiritual Bullies gain their sense of self-worth from their ability to perform; to be in power, to be recognized and to be honored and revered

  • Servant Leaders realize that their self worth comes from what God has done in them through Christ.

  • Spiritual Bullies use people for their own advancement and empowerment from those who can do the most for their personal goal and vision;

  • Servant Leaders focus on the development, discipleship, mentorship and growth in sonship of those within their realm of responsibility, regardless of how much they might be able to advance their position or prestige.

  • Spiritual Bullies focus on the amount of knowledge they acquire; the time of their experience and the promotion of their expertise

  • Servant Leaders focus on being able to apply what they know and share what they have learned in a manner that is modeled and understandable with humility and dependency on Christ.

Leaders can unlearn behaviors and actions that hinder servant leadership by sitting with self-evaluative questions.

  • Am I loved based?

  • Am I other focused with no self-agenda?

  • How do I exhibit a loving concern for others?

  • How do I respond to the spiritual discipleship and development of another?

  • How have I measured the maturity of others? and why?

A Servant Leadership Consideration

As a reflection, Fry, in "Toward a theory of spiritual leadership." provides a development of the spiritual formation of a servant leaders from spirituality includes two essential elements in a person’s life: 1)Transcendence of self, manifesting in a sense of calling or destiny, and 2) Belief that one’s activities have meaning and value beyond economic benefits or self-gratification. (Fry, 2005)


Fry, L. W. (2005). Toward a theory of spiritual leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 14 (6), 693-727.

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Mar 16, 2021

Great explanation of spiritual bullies and servant leaders. It seems love is the one necessary key to tell the difference between the two. One focuses primarily on "self" and s/he can get out of the relationship, the other focuses on the love of Christ within which enables one to see beyond themselves , render service to others in a loving and kind way. " I see you as The Creator sees you and want to help support and encourage you in your endeavors "May we all continue to live a calm and peaceable life where the spiritual work on self is evident through our service to others.


Mar 13, 2021

That religion's god is self, its priests are celebrity personalities and its scriptures are social media experts and platforms...... I absolutely love this Article.. It's so pertinent today. Thank you for sharing.

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