You were born to be a leader! Locked away in your mind and being are dynamic, explosive qualities that could design, build, create—teach, lead—change lives, mold the future!
How can you unlock those potentialities?
This world cries out for good, solid, principled leadership—leaders who are anchored and grounded, who will not be corrupted. Ambitious leaders are needed in government, business, industry, agriculture, education—every segment of society!
It needs leaders for God—leaders who want to do things God’s way. In fact, the Bible shows that very soon, God plans to put all the leaders of today out of office, and set up a kingdom run by leaders who are willing to follow His just and right laws of leadership. You can learn the way of that World Tomorrow—today.
God wants to make you a king. He wants to give you an awesome position in that future Kingdom. He wants you to become a leader!
And before that, He wants you to have a happy, blessed life—now.
But there is a procedure to receiving your position. God doesn’t just give it: You must go after it.
This article will show you the first step to becoming a leader for God.
The First Step
The book of Titus in the Bible is a letter written by an older minister to one of the less experienced ministers in the Church who was dealing with some young men in his congregation. This older minister gave him one solid nugget of advice on how to help the young men. He wrote, “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded” (Titus 2:6).
The Revised Standard Version translates this verse, “Likewise urge the younger men to control themselves.”
The New International Version: “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”
The Moffatt translation: “Tell the young men also to be masters of themselves at all points.”
And the Living Bible: “Urge the young men to behave carefully, taking life seriously.”
Sounds simple—but this is the first step to becoming a leader for God! So many leaders in this world have never learned this—and they’re making an absolute mess of this world!
In the World Tomorrow, all the leadership positions are going to be filled by people who have learned to control themselves first.
Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Here are some of the problems a person can get into if he lacks self-control:
· He caves into peer pressure easily.
· He wrestles with feelings of depression and inferiority.
· He is much too concerned about what others think of him.
· He acts arrogantly to try to hide his insecurities.
· He does self-destructive things like getting into pornography, abusing alcohol, taking drugs.
· He gets jealous easily, especially when someone around him succeeds.
· He doesn’t do well in school because he is undisciplined.
· He has a hard time keeping control over the amount of time devoted to tv, movies and video games.
There are all kinds of ways that a lack of self-control can manifest itself—but the bottom line is, if we don’t control ourselves, we will end up allowing other people and things to get us to do what we shouldn’t be doing.
Preserve Your Future
Joseph came from a family with 12 sons; he was second to last to be born. God really wanted to do great things with Joseph. He wanted to give him an outstanding future—just like God wants to give you. Joseph could see that. He had a fire within him. He wanted the future God was offering.
His brothers, rather than getting behind what God was doing with Joseph and trying to submit to God as well, became jealous of him. When Joseph was 17 years old, they sold him into slavery. It couldn’t have looked worse for young Joseph!
He was sold to an Egyptian man named Potiphar. Before long, Potiphar saw that there was something special about this young man. Everything he gave Joseph to do, Joseph really put his hand to—he worked hard, and God prospered it.
Potiphar naturally began to increase Joseph’s responsibilities. The more he gave Joseph to do, the better things turned out. Over time, Potiphar made this young man overseer over all he had! Imagine becoming such a success as a teenager! Genesis 39:6 says all Potiphar had to worry about was eating—Joseph took care of the rest.
God was truly blessing Joseph. Let’s look at why. A particular incident in Joseph’s life gives us some insight into his character. Notice what happened: “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and said, ‘Lie with me’” (Genesis 39:7; Revised Standard Version). The boss’s wife just threw herself at Joseph.
What would you do?
Here’s what Joseph did: “But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Lo, having me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my hand; he is not greater in this house than I am; nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife; how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’” (verses 8-9; Revised Standard Version). Joseph knew he was accountable to God!
It’s true that Joseph didn’t want to hurt Potiphar who had been so good to him. But he knew that the real issue was that God would be upset with him. God was the one who was really opening up these opportunities for him. God was the one who was offering him a magnificent future! And he had enough sense to say, There’s no way I’m going to jeopardize all of that for anything you have to offer!
He had self-control!
Notice: This wasn’t a decision he had to make only one time: “And although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie with her or to be with her” (verse 10; RSV). She kept on pressing him—but he ignored her. He wouldn’t compromise! The Living Bible phrases it, “He refused to listen, and kept out of her way as much as possible.”
This account doesn’t specifically say how tempted Joseph was. Potiphar’s wife might well have been an attractive woman—after all, she caught the eye of a wealthy and successful man in Potiphar. But even if she wasn’t the most beautiful woman in Egypt, even a mildly attractive woman using all her charms and her body to wear down a man’s resistance can easily make a young man fall to lust.
This seductive temptress was trying to break him with every move every day. It would have taken powerful self-control for Joseph to never give in.
Maybe there are young women at your school who pose certain temptations for you. Can you put your relationship with God first? Can you put your future first—rather than temporary pleasures of the moment—no matter how many times you’re tempted? So many young people ruin their futures for a relationship. That can happen to you—unless you exercise self-control.
“But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’”
Imagine if that happened to you!
It happened to Joseph. Notice his reaction: “[B]ut he left his garment in her hand, and fled and got out of the house” (verses 11-12; rsv). Joseph sprinted away while she was ripping off his clothes!
Potiphar’s wife then lied to her husband and said Joseph tried to seduce her. Potiphar was so angry he cast Joseph into prison.
But God was with Joseph because he had controlled himself. After being freed from prison, this unassuming Israelite youth ascended to the second-highest political position in Egypt—just below Pharaoh!
Egypt prospered under Joseph’s direction. When a dreadful famine struck the region, surrounding nations came to Joseph for help because he had saved Egypt’s excess crops during prosperous times.
Joseph had no debts. He saved for the future. He exercised self-control in his own life, and all of Egypt and the surrounding nations benefited! Joseph lived lawfully. Pharaoh knew that. When the people of Egypt cried out to Pharaoh because of the famine, even he knew where to turn in a crisis. When things got tough, he directed the people to the one who had his own life in order and said, Listen to what he says, and then doit! (Genesis 41:55). What an example!
God wants you to get your own life in order—so you can turn around and help others!
Let’s examine a few specific areas in which you can learn to exercise greater self-control. We must all examine ourselves, and these areas are just a starting point.
One | Entertainment
This is one of Satan’s biggest tools today. There is a lot of entertainment widely available—and that a lot of young men are caught up in—that is very damaging.
First, the content of much entertainment is full of wrong ideas and attitudes and blatant lies. If we don’t protect ourselves, we’ll simply buy the lies, whether we mean to or not.
Take one example: In almost every case on television, the woman is pictured as a very competent, self-assured person who has everything together, who has the job, who spends time with the kids, who knows what’s really going on—while the man is a goofy, idiotic, clueless fool. You would be hard-pressed to find one male character on television who leads his home in a competent, authoritative and loving way.
It’s easy for these ideas to get ingrained in our thinking. You watch it—it goes into your brain—and eventually it reflects in your attitudes, behavior and actions. And for every young man Satan can fill with those lies, Satan can take out a family.
To prepare for kingship, we simply must stay away from the wrong ideas, the violence, the sex, the idiotic, gross humor. We must be able to recognize the errors in that kind of entertainment and steer clear.
Second, the wrong use of entertainment steals your time—your initiative—your drive. It makes you lazy and indolent. Preparing for kingship requires an active life of higher pursuits—higher goals than mastering the latest video game or seeing the latest movie.
Control yourself. Be self-disciplined. Be a master of yourself at all points. Behave carefully, taking life seriously.
Two | Work
We only achieve the things we work for. It takes self-control and discipline to do well in school, to prepare for a career, to perform well on a job even if we don’t like it. Young men should be preparing to support families.
In her book The War Against Boys, Christina Hoff Sommers talked about the increase in opportunities for young women in our society. “By the early 1990s, American girls were flourishing in unprecedented ways. The vast majority of girls were occupied in more constructive ways, moving ahead of boys academically in the primary and secondary grades, applying to colleges in record numbers, filling the more challenging academic classes, joining sports teams and generally enjoying more freedoms and opportunities than any young women in human history.”
Sounds great, right? Certainly there is nothing wrong with young women being successful. The sad part is what happened during the same period to young men!
Girls now outnumber boys in student government, honor societies, debating clubs, and on school newspapers. Girls read more books than boys; they are more studious; they are more likely to study overseas. They outperform boys on tests of artistic and musical ability.
Meanwhile, the typical boy is a year and half behind girls in reading and writing skills. Boys are more likely to be held back or suspended from school. More boys drop out. More boys are on Ritalin. More boys get involved in crime, alcohol and drugs.
In other words, this world is raising a generation of boys who have no idea how to be men.
More women are getting college degrees than men. So in more and more cases, if women marry, they’re going to be marrying men who have less education than they do! It’s going to be much harder for them to look to those men as the leader in the home. It’s going to be a whole lot easier for those women to take charge of the family, and for that family to be cursed with problems because they are not doing it God’s way!
God wants to see you go against the grain of this society. God asks that whatever we find to do, we do it with our might! (Ecclesiastes 9:10). A young man should have real drive and enthusiasm for what he does. He should be driven by high goals and noble purpose. His posture, his voice, his facial expressions, his actions, should demonstrate excitement for life, with its opportunities and challenges. “[W]hatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
Speech lecturer Millard Bennett once said, “Everything great and noble in the history of man’s achievements is a story of the victory of enthusiasm over indifference, jealousy, fear, hatred and ignorance. Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished without it. It has ever been the inspiring force that has motivated man.”
So be enthusiastic for the good things—the right and true things. Put all your effort into hard work. Life rewards action. It doesn’t matter what you mean to do; what matters is what you actually do.
Don’t fear failure. As Babe Ruth said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Decide in your mind that you are going to take reasonable, responsible risks.If you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. And you almost never succeed on the first try. But to make progress, effort, action and real work are needed.
Three | Sex
The Bible contains another awesome bit of advice for young men on this matter of self-control. “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. … Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings” (Proverbs 31:1, 3).
The advice is this: Getting caught up with the wrong girl will destroy you!
One of the strongest, most powerful men in the Bible was Samson—and he let a woman entrap and destroy him.
Israel’s greatest king, King David, almost did the same. Because he lacked self-control over a woman, David lied, committed adultery, and murdered someone. Thankfully, when God confronted him with his sin, David repented and God forgave him. But he still had to pay a penalty for his sins. The sword never passed from his house; while David was alive, Israel was always at war. David’s son Absalom tried to kill him. During Absalom’s rebellion, Israel erupted into civil war, during which tens of thousands of David’s own countrymen were slaughtered. Adonijah, another son of David, also rebelled against his father.
On top of all that, God sentenced to death the child Bathsheba conceived in adultery.
This was the chain of events triggered by David’s sin. And it would have been far worse had he not repented!
Consider those examples, and then think again about what God was able to achieve with Joseph because he controlled himself! Quite a contrast.
God wants a young man to grow up to have a wife and family. But to do that you must have enough self-control not to get mixed up with the wrong girl—or even the right girl at the wrong time! Let God bless you with these things in His good time. That is truly some of the best preparation for kingship there is.
Faithful in Small Things
In the crypts of Westminster Abbey in London is a tomb inscription that reads, “When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I realized the world would not change. And I decided to shorten my sights somewhat and change only my country. But it too seemed immovable. As I entered my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I sought to change only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
“And now here I lie on my deathbed and realize (perhaps for the first time) that if only I’d changed myself first, then by example I may have influenced my family, and with their encouragement and support I may have bettered my country, and who knows—I may have changed the world.”
That is the way it works in God’s Kingdom. You must change yourself first. If you’re going to be a leader, you must first learn to lead yourself.
God will give you all the help you need. If your family is falling apart, you can stay strong. If you have temptations thrown at you, you can be like Joseph and run away.
If you can rule yourself—even in the little areas of your life—God knows that you will be able to rule others! If you’re faithful in the small things, then God can trust how you’ll respond when you are given greater responsibility (Luke 16:10-12).
That is why this simple but all-important point is the first step to kingship.
Control yourself. Be self-disciplined. Be a master of yourself in all points. Behave carefully. Take life seriously. If you do, you will start unlocking the tremendous potential for genuine success in your life! You will, in fact, be preparing for the awesome future God yearns to give you—that of a king!