Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you — since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus. – Philemon 1:8-9
Paul, as the apostle who led Philemon to saving faith in Christ, felt that he had the authority to command his friend to receive Onesimus (Philemon’s slave) back into his home (even though he had escaped). Yet, rather than appeal based on that authority, Paul persuaded Philemon to receive Onesimus back into his home because of love, a shared love for Christ and for one another.
Spiritual authority is always most effective when it is least exposed. If a person in spiritual authority over another must resort to commanding or demanding obedience, then that authority has already been compromised or even abdicated. Spiritual leaders may have authority from Christ, but it can only be maintained in the “arena” of the Savior’s character, attitude, and humility.
If you lead others, they must first know of your shared desire to be led by Christ.
When the people see that you truly love them, they will hear anything from you. Oh, therefore, see that you feel a tender love for your people in your hearts, and let them perceive it in your speech and conduct. Let them see that you spend and are spent for their sakes. – Richard Baxter