From our Women’s Panel Contributor Esther Lysakovsky

I recently read a post on Instagram that stopped me mid-scroll. The caption read, “Things that do not equal character:

  • Authority
  • Title
  • Charisma
  • Platform
  • Influence
  • Accomplishments
  • Intelligence
  • Bible Knowledge
  • Education

…Character is revealed in how well you love.”

It always comes back to love, doesn’t it?

For centuries we have witnessed the fallout of people in authority who are given a platform before they’ve had a chance to develop their character. Or others who have prioritized their platform and popularity over developing their character. Left unchecked, both can lead to pride, arrogance, abuse of power and the ability to harm both self and others. The greater the authority and influence, the greater the potential for harmful impact on others.

Here, then, is the dilemma. We aren’t born with character, we develop character…and more often then not it is developed when things are difficult. We must go through the fires of adversity in order to handle the applause of popularity. Like the diamond refined in fire so, too, is our character refined as we go through difficult circumstances (Romans 5:3-5). We see this chronicled often throughout the Bible in the lives of leaders such as Joseph, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus’ disciples. The trials of their lives prepared them as influential leaders that would impact not just their generation, but the ones to come.

The trials we face help to prepare and strengthen us for the road ahead. They teach us to recognize our own limitations and seek the One who is mighty and able to help. Trials teach us endurance, and lead us toward compassion. More often then not, they also lead us to our knees, to our Source of strength and hope.

The challenge can come when leaders rise quickly without having had the time to develop strong character and disciplines that will ground them when -not if- they are faced with temptations and trials. To be leaders and influencers with integrity and character I believe we must spend less time building a following and more time praying for our followers. Less time learning from influencers and more time being influenced by Christ.

In the Bible we see a perfect example of an influencer with the ultimate authority who was rooted in love, compassion, humility, and service toward others.

Jesus is described this way in Philippians 2:5-9:
“…Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”

Perhaps you’re thinking, “But that is Jesus, the perfect Son of God!”

The good news is that the same Spirit who is in Christ is also in us as followers of Christ. Paul the Apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, “…my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

My prayer for this generation is that we would see more godly influencers rise who are rooted in the Word, empowered and emboldened by the Spirit, and connected to Christ. Influential leaders who, beyond platform or popularity, model a life lived in humble communion with their Savior and friend, Jesus.

And may we all as followers of Christ be known by how well we love.


Father, we thank you for demonstrating for us what it means to lead with love, humility, and reliance on the Holy Spirit. When the tug of popularity and influence tries to draw our attention away from love and service toward others and toward you, would you gently lead us back to our knees. Give us a heart that beats like yours for the lost, the broken, the outcast, the marginalized. May we live to love. Amen.

For reflection

– Are there places in my own heart where I have prioritized platform over love of people?
– In what ways can I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me this week to develop godly character?