Proverbs 31:1-3 (ESV)

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:[2] What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? [3] Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.

We know that this cannot mean for the King never to have a wife, because most of Proverbs 31 is about what a blessing from God a godly wife is. These opening verses are about not being a womanizer, or, in this culture in which King Lemuel lives, it is about being non-conformed in a world where the presence of harems and the right of Kings to have many wives and concubines was expected and accepted.

A leader must lead by example. How we need to hear this message today. When leaders and the general population believe that what a leader does in his private time is completely divorced from his ability to lead, the Bible reminds us that the testing ground for all sound leadership is a man`s heart, his home, his private life. As the presence of a harem would destroy Lemuel`s ability to lead well, so today, the presence of addictions, sexual immorality, financial shadiness etc. all disqualify a person from leadership.

This is different from saying that such sins can never have been a part of a leader’s life. God forgives sinners. A leader’s past should not be held against him. But forgiveness is conditioned upon repentance and repentance is marked by turning away. Do you aspire to leadership? Be sure that the first qualification is the integrity of your private life.

But note that the instruction to young Lemuel in these verses is not just “Don’t do it”. It is rather “Do not give your strength and your ways”. Your strength and your ways come from God and that is what they are to be used for. Leaders are tempted to use their power however they like. They need to remember that they would have no power at all if it was not given to them from above. These were the words of Jesus to Pilate when Pilate fell into believing that Jesus was putty in his hands. You want to be a leader? You are not fit tor the position if you think your power is not received from God Himself. How we need leaders who realize that their power is a gift from God.

And how we need leaders who know their God through faith in Jesus Christ. Not the counterfeit statements of faith that people use to get elected. But the real faith that puts a man on his knees and makes him a leader who leads with the knowledge that one day he will have to give account to the One who put him in the position that he holds. You aspire to leadership? Use it for God’s glory because of your trust in His Son. Never be ashamed of Him.