The Greatest Test of Character You Will Ever Face as a Leader

Have you checked your humility level lately? (Gerd Altmann/

If you're going to be a great leader, you're going to have to pass some big tests. It comes with the territory.

You'll walk through loss and loneliness. You'll be questioned and criticized. You'll lead through adversity and obstacles.

But the biggest test you'll face as a leader, at least in terms of your personal character, is the test of praise.

The Hebrew Proverbs give us this wisdom:

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise" (Prov. 27:21, NIV).

One of the distinguishing marks of effective leaders is emotional fortitude, which refers to our ability to handle pressure, criticism and hardship and keep on going without giving up. But even more vital than resilience is humility.

One of the reasons we see so many leaders making the news and losing their credibility is that their success has outpaced the development of their character. When we start to believe the positive press about us, we begin to believe we're invincible and that we really are more valuable and important than other people.

When we start to believe we matter more than other people, other people will matter less to us. And when we devalue other people, we fail to pour our lives into them and to develop them—the very essence of leadership.

Talent and charisma are great, but they're never enough. Without character, they lead to disaster, and character is tested and proven in the furnace of praise.

Brandon A. Cox planted Grace Hills Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, in July 2011 and serves as the lead pastor. He previously served as a pastor under Rick Warren at Saddleback Church and developed the online global community of He is also a coach to leaders, pastors and church planters.

For the original article, visit

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders