What God Looks For in a Leader – 1 Timothy 1

WHAT GOD LOOKS FOR IN A LEADER (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) – 1

READ 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9

When we think of leadership, we usually think of what the person does, his actions in carrying out his role as leader. However, outer actions are based on inner character, not our personality or knowledge. Leadership is first of all something we ARE, not just something we DO. Paul lists qualifications for godly leaders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Each and every one has to do with inner integrity and maturity. They are not just a list from which we can pick and choose. They go together to describe one person – a godly leader.  The only one who has ever totally fulfilled this whole list is Jesus; so the more we grow in these qualities the more we become like Him. Let’s look at these requirements for leadership.


The first thing Paul says is that a person must want to be a godly leader.  He must “set his heart on it” and “desire” it (1 Timothy 3:1). Never talk someone into serving, no matter how good a leader you think they may become. God must put that desire in their hearts, and then they must respond to that by being willing to follow and serve. Without these fundamental truths, no one will make a godly leader. No one!

When did God put it in your heart to serve Him? Was it hard for you to commit to doing so? Have you changed your mind about wanting to serve Him? Reaffirm your commitment to serve Him. If you wonder if He called you, I can assure you that if you want to serve Him then that desire has come from Him, unless you just want to serve out of pride or greed.


For those who are called and respond by wanting to serve, Paul has 25 character traits that describe a godly leader. It takes a lifetime of spiritual growth to attain these, and no one but Jesus has ever attained all of them to perfection. It is a process we begin and continue throughout our lives.

The first inner quality listed is balance (1 Timothy 3:2). It refers to someone who is even tempered and avoids extremes, someone not easily deceived or carried away, someone who is always stable and steady and who doesn’t fall apart under pressure.

Sensible  (1 Timothy 3:2) is similar but a bit different. This person is self-controlled, reasonable and makes good decisions because they approach problems with maturity and experience. They do a good job when hard decisions have to be made.

Also, a godly leader must be disciplined  (Titus 1:8). This means literally “strength under control.”  A godly leader doesn’t overindulge in food, sleep or anything else. He knows when to say no (Proverbs 25:28). He is not easy prey to temptation or someone who spends too much money. He does not let anger, pride, greed or laziness control him.  (July 18, 2022  Doylestown, PA)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself on balance and self-control in your life? How would your mate or best friends rate you? Do you have self-control when you need it? Do others come to you for advice in tough situations because you have a reputation of making wise decisions?


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