Titus is an interesting study on leadership. While Paul lists many traits of leadership, there is one, that bears repeating: self-control. We see it in verses 2 and 12 in today’s reading. This is not the only place that Paul cites self-control as a distinguishing leadership trait. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 mentions it as well. What is it about self-control that is so important? It’s the consequences.
There are two consequences of our self-control or lack of self-control. The first is that someone might follow us. Think about this. If you are the company leader, and you get drunk at the Christmas party, how many people will now think that getting drunk is ok? We know intuitively that this is wrong. We need to be a better example. Romans 14:13 says“Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” Do you hear it? Our inability to control ourselves might be permission to someone else. They will follow our example.
There is another group of people that are not followers. Instead, they are judges. This is the second consequence of our lack of self-control. Simply put, these people will see our behavior and disapprove. Their disapproval suspends the respect and confidence that are required to lead. From that moment forward, you cannot lead them. Worse than losing leadership is our ability to show and share Christ. When our self-control fails, we cannot “let [our] good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5;16).
Today, we get to choose. Where in our lives do we need more self-control? What are the behaviors that when seen by others, will disqualify our leadership? These are the behaviors that Jesus asks us to bring to him. “Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.” (Jeremiah 4:2)