To build a house, you must first dig. You must clear out the rocks, roots, and any obstacles to create an even ground. Then, after you’ve dug a footprint of the house into the earth, the foundation is laid. Building leadership requires a similar process. It requires a foundation of character. Obstacles must be cleared at the base to avoid a compromised structure. We unfortunately see examples of this all the time as CEOs rise to the top of corporations only to fall because greed, dishonesty, and lust were not dealt with sooner. As hindrances are removed, the foundation of character is laid in its place. You cannot create anything lasting, without character. Having a character is absolutely essential to everything else.
When I talk about character, I think about integrity. It’s a valuable trait and even more valuable when you find it in someone else. Integrity is about truthfulness and having convictions. You have a set of standards that you live by that remain the same in both the public and private life. They are far from being two-faced. Men and women of integrity can be trusted to do the right thing and to follow through on tasks. These people stand apart from the rest and they are the kind of people that every team, ministry, and corporation want. This is the kind of person you want to be, a person of character.
Bill Lear, founder of Lear Jet, was a man of character and integrity. When two of his jets crashed without cause, He grounded all fifty-five jets he had sold. He was not going to risk lives until he determined the issue. Many companies and CEOs would not even consider this an option. Some car manufactures continue to allow their customers to drive around in compromised vehicles, rather than losing millions on a recall. But character was more important to Bill Lear than money. To determine the problem, Bill hopped into one of the planes himself, almost meeting the same fate as the previous pilots. He discovered the cause of the problem and replaced the defected part in all fifty-five planes. Bill lost a lot of money and almost his own life, but he didn’t compromise his character and he never regretted it.
Leader, I pray that you continuously pursue a foundation of character. Welcome the Master Builder to examine your foundation. Are there any lingering obstacles that need to be removed? Are t pride, dishonesty, anger, lust, greed, or selfishness compromising the life you’re trying to build? Allow Him to remove what is not of Him. It may be painful and it may not happen overnight, but if these go unchecked or we cut corners on character, we will pay the heavy price down the road.
Rather, be one of integrity. Be trustful and convicted. May the standards that you have for your life, be the same that God calls us all to. Live above reproach, that no one may question your character or more importantly, that no one may question the God whom you serve. May the fruit of your life be a testament to Him and reflection of His character. So, practice the fruit of the Spirit, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23).
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32).
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil. 2:3-4).
If you wish to build something that lasts, you must start with yourself, you must start with character. Make every effort to lay a solid foundation of Christ-like character. It is absolutely essential for everything in life.