Apostles do a variety of things, and have a variety of personality types and traits. Aside from their own “quirks,” expressions of speech and habits, what is the nature of an apostle? It is not from the personality of the apostles that we draw this, or from the outward appearance of the ministry of an apostle, but from the character and qualities of the people themselves. When we seek to determine what qualities an apostles has, it is not skills, talents, abilities and things they “do” that we examine as much as it is of “who they are,” and what type of people they are. It is inward that we must look.
Apostles are willing to suffer. Jesus himself was a suffering servant (Isaiah 53) and an apostle. He is the example for all other apostles. Paul himself suffered and was in fact called by Christ to suffer (Acts 9:16) much. All of the original apostles suffered, and whilst not every apostle will suffer to this degree, there is or should be a willingness to endure whatever hardship presents itself for the sake of Christ. If this willingness is not present, the apostle may either not be genuine, or not yet be properly formed.
Gentleness is the hallmark of an apostle. Jesus said to learn from Him, and set the example of being gentle and humble. (Matt 11:29) Paul the apostle said ‘but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.’ (1 Thess 2:19) The call of an apostles demands that gentleness be associated with it. Christ, to whom all authority was given, became the least and became a servant, and became gentle. It only follows that apostles, to whom much is given, must also become low, gentle, humble and serve.
Other Qualities of Apostles:
- Servants of the Church
- Recipients of Apostolic Grace
- Great Love
- A Heart to Discipline
- Undivided Loyalty to Christ
- Of a different spirit.
The qualities above have nothing to do with how charismatic a person is, or what great leadership skills they may have developed, or whether they have a mind for big business. Anyone is able to be charismatic or have a mind for big things. God is looking for a certain measure of heart. Apostles are not born, they are called, and then made as they suffer, obey, and follow Christ regardless of difficulty. It is through the years that they become the kind of people God asks them to be.
If talents or outward qualities were required, some of the world’s most talented unbelieving people would be serving Christ. God is looking for people of character, and of these He calls some to be apostles. He then trains them over many years to become how He requires. Jesus took his own 12 disciples on a fast-tracked 3 year intensive boot camp, and then reinforced it up with visual demonstrations of His resurrection, and the day of Pentecost to set them correctly.
For most other apostles, the process takes longer, but still requires yieldedness and a moving of the Spirit in their lives. The Apostle Paul, even after a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, spent 14 years in the desert being moulded by Christ into the apostle he was to become. From that moment on, he still continued to grow, change and be changed.
If big ministry, success with money, business interests, charismatic leadership, prophetic gifting or big influence were the qualities of an apostle, then a lot more people would be apostles.
When the time came for Samuel to anoint a king for Israel from the sons of Jesse, he was directed by the Lord to ignore the 7 handsome older brothers and instead choose David to be King. God was looking at the heart. This is how God selects apostles.