Paul believed a leader should be full of integrity: “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 1:11-12). Two thousand years ago in the Greco-Roman world, a father was primarily responsible for the education and training of his children, doing what was best for his family, which derived its name from our Heavenly Father (Ephesians 3:14-15). Paul’s use of worthy painted a portrait of scales that would balance a believer’s behavior with the heart of God the Father who encourages, comforts, and urges us toward His ultimate goal to be shaped like Christ.
Integrity means complete. We equally apply fairness with everyone we serve, free from hidden agendas. We solicit both sides of every story and make decisions that place the interests of others above our own. Paul taught that we become complete in Christ (Philippians 1:6). When we surrender our life to Christ, we are transformed and led by the Holy Spirit who guides us to encourage (breathe life into), comfort (strengthen), and urge (implore or witness to) members of our teams toward performing in a manner consistent with the character of God, the Author of Integrity (1 Chronicles 29:17; Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14). He nurtures our organizations to be like family.
Every leader falls short of the benchmark of our Heavenly Father, who is complete in gentleness, generosity, authenticity, and integrity. The weight of our side of the scales is paltry compared to His. Our tone has been harsh, our desires greedy, our words laced with flattery, and our hearts littered with deceit. Picture those scales tipped against us. Now imagine the cross of Christ being placed symmetrically over the vertical and horizontal axes. Jesus aligns the scales. His gentleness, generosity, authenticity, and integrity fill our gap. When we fully surrender to Him, His Spirit will guide us to bring His heart to every person and team we serve. What do fully surrendered leaders embrace? can be rephrased to Who do fully surrendered leaders embrace? Paul summed it up in one sentence: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).