The Heart of a Godly Leader: Part 1 

Hope for Today (English)
Hope for Today (English)
The Heart of a Godly Leader: Part 1 

II Cor. 1:23-2:11 

It is good to be here with you, thank you for joining us on Hope for Today and today we are going to look at the Heart of a Godly Leader.  This lesson covers two weeks, we will start it today and finish it next week.  

 Some of you may be thinking, “I am not a leader, this won’t apply to me.” What exactly is a leader? John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence.” Do you know anyone who has no influence? If you know people, then you have influence. I agree with Maxwell if you have influence, you are a leader. We are not all main or frontline leaders, but you are leading something.  

Let’s turn to II Corinthians and listen to J Mark as he teaches us about the heart of a Godly leader.  

As we begin our time in the Word today, I have a question for you. What qualities do you think are necessary for a person to exercise godly leadership? A few of the things I think of are integrity, fairness, humility, and the ability to listen well. I’m sure you could add more to that list.  

People today are looking for authentic leaders; leaders who admit their imperfections, weaknesses, and failures. They want leaders who can identify with them in their struggles, not someone who portrays themselves as a superhero who does everything perfectly. I think this is especially true with leadership in the Church.  

And since we’re studying God’s Word together, and it gives us practical instruction for Christian living, we will focus this time on “The Heart of a Godly Leader.” Maybe your first reaction to that title is, “Well, I’m not a leader so this doesn’t apply to me.” Not so fast! The qualities we’ll be looking at are important for all Christ-followers, not just those with official titles or positions in the Church. So, I urge you to listen and make an application to your own life.  

Our text today is Second Corinthians 1:23 through 2:11. As we begin, here’s just a reminder of the setting. One reason Paul wrote this letter was to defend his apostolic authority to a rebellious minority in the Corinthian church. Another reason was to strengthen the faithful Believers there. For these reasons, Paul’s letter becomes deeply personal as he shares experiences and information that verify his apostolic authority. 

So, listen now as I read the text, Second Corinthians 1:23 through 2:11. 

23 Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.  

24 Not that we have dominion over your faith but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith, you stand. 

1But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.  

2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me? 

3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.  

4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you. 

5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe.  

6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,  

7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.  

8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.  

9 For to this end I also wrote that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.  

10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,  

11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. 

In this text, Paul demonstrates the QUALITIES that show us “The Heart of a Godly Leader.” As Christ-followers, you and I are challenged to develop these qualities regardless of our position. 

The First QUALITY (that shows the heart of a godly leader) is, 

He Thinks Carefully 

Paul is dealing with some significant issues in his position as an elder or overseer of the church at Corinth. He planted this church but he’s no longer active in the daily leadership. From his first letter, we know the church was divided into groups based on the leaders they followed. Some chose Paul, some Apollos, some Peter, and others. 

Paul could have gone to Corinth in person and used his apostolic authority to correct the situation. But he didn’t. Why not? Because he took time to think carefully about the impact of his choices. He wanted the best way to handle the situation. Often, I find that my initial responses to a situation aren’t the best way to handle it. A wise, godly leader looks for the best timing and method in dealing with difficult issues. 

This is especially true with false accusations. When we’re falsely accused, we want to defend ourselves, to set the record straight. I know this from personal experience. I’ve written letters and emails that I’ve never sent. Why? Because after I wrote out what I was thinking, I realized that I was more concerned about my reputation than the well-being of the accuser. And in some cases, the accusation was so absurd it didn’t deserve a reply. A godly leader knows the value of a thoughtful response instead of a hasty reaction.  

Paul responds to his critics by telling them exactly why he chose not to visit them. Note the use of the judicial oath as he calls God as a witness to his integrity. After thinking it over carefully, he chose not to visit them because he understood the power of his personal presence. There is implied power behind Paul’s restraint. He had apostolic authority given to him by Jesus and could have used it rather forcefully to correct this group with their divided loyalties.   

Paul reminds the Corinthians that he’s not interested in domineering control over their faith. Instead, he emphasizes their standing in Christ and the joy being produced in their lives. This theme of joy is woven throughout this text. Even with all their problems, the church members in Corinth were still Believers who were being kept by the power of God through faith. And Paul was appealing to them on this basis.  

Paul tells his readers that after careful thought, he determined the best course of action was writing a letter rather than visiting in person. He said he made that decision for the good of everyone involved. He knew that a personal visit would bring sorrow to the church because of the “hard things” (sin) he would need to deal with among them.  

He asks in verse 2, “If, by my coming, I make you sorry, who then will be left to make me glad? It will only be those whom I have made sorry.” The implied question is, “How is that going to work?” Here, the ‘I’ is emphatic. There were lots of others at Corinth causing trouble. Paul doesn’t want to be counted among the troublemakers. If this congregation needed discipline and rebuke, how could they be a source of joy to him? Here, Paul takes time to think carefully about the impact of his words. 

He didn’t want to be the source of sorrow to those who were the potential source of his joy. His letter is an attempt to deal with the issues from a distance so that when he finally does visit them, the issues will be resolved, and their mutual joy can flourish. Generally, when discipline is needed, personal contact is the best way to deal with it. But not always. Paul’s willingness to think carefully about the situation and follow the Holy Spirit’s leadership assured him of the best possible outcome.  

The main idea of these opening verses (1:24-2:3) is that Paul’s joy is bound up in the spiritual prosperity of the Church at Corinth. He would receive joy through their faith and obedience. His careful thinking about how to address the situation shows us one quality of the heart of a godly leader.  

All of us are engaged daily in relationships with other people. Thinking carefully before we respond to tensions and differences is a mark of wisdom and godliness.  

Another QUALITY (that shows the heart of a godly leader) is, 

He Loves Deeply 

As I mentioned earlier, this second letter to the Corinthians is deeply personal. In verse 4, Paul shares his struggle to find the best way to relate to them. The language he uses describes intense emotions. His first letter was written with many tears and with many anxious moments about how it would be received. Paul’s word choice describing his anguish of heart suggests the idea of choking or squeezing; something like a panic attack.  

But Paul didn’t want these intense emotions to grieve his readers. He wanted them to see his emotions as proof of his deep and abiding love for them. In his first letter, he had admonished them on what do to in the case of the man who was involved in an incestuous relationship. He may be revisiting that situation in verse five, but his language is very delicate. It’s also possible that he’s referring to the leader of the party in Corinth that was opposing him. In either case, he doesn’t name the offender or the offense.  

The whole church was grieved and injured by this man’s sin. But Paul wants to avoid unnecessary pain to the church members or the offender by using language that’s too severe. He acknowledges the offender’s guilt, but he doesn’t want to add to their sorrow. I confess that sometimes in situations like this, I take an ungodly delight in the public shame of those caught in their sins. That’s what the Pharisees did when they brought the adulterous woman to Jesus. But Paul wasn’t like that. Even in the process of correction, he loves the Corinthians deeply. I need God’s grace to love my brothers and sisters like that, especially the erring ones. 

Thanks, J Mark for sharing this teaching from God’s Word. We trust that you have been blessed. The vision of Heralds of Hope is to use media, and radio, in this case, to make disciples of Jesus Christ to accomplish the great commission in our lifetime. As disciples of Jesus, we want to be like Him, and to be like Him we study His Word. So, thank you for joining us for today’s study.    

If you have any questions about today’s teaching or if you like a copy. Just contact us and ask for it by title. Here is how you can reach us. The best way is by email. Our email is [email protected]. If you don’t have an email, you can write to us, our address is Hope for Today, Box 3 Breezewood, Pennsylvania 15533. Or you can connect with us on our website. Our website is On our website you will find other helpful resources and more teaching programs like this one, so please look around while you are there. Again, the website is  

We look forward to next week and hope you will join us then as we study the next section in II Corinthians. Have a good week and as Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Go live in that joy and peace. 

*This episode is an exposition by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with an opening and closing by Arlin Horst.

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