God builds our character and teaches us the importance of integrity before He puts us in powerful leadership roles. A young man named Joseph faced several integrity forks in his life – some he failed, some he passed:
- Joseph’s ego gets the best of him when he brags about his coat of many colors to his brothers.
- Sold by his brothers into slavery, he chooses to serve Potiphar so well that he gets a promotion.
- In a strong display of integrity, Joseph refuses to lay with Potiphar’s wife. His faith is more important than pleasure.
- He ends up in jail, falsely accused of rape. He could have sulked and whined, but he serves well and is put in charge of the jail.
- He interprets a dream and asks to be remembered and freed, but God leaves him in jail for a couple more years.
Obviously, Joseph has learned humility and integrity since his youthful days of taunting his brothers, so why another two years in jail and slavery? Because God knows what Joseph doesn’t: that he is about to become Pharaoh’s, right-hand man.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:41–43 ESV).
Can you imagine having that kind of power? It’s been said that God doesn’t always give us what we want because He knows we can’t handle it. In this case, Joseph had a little more character and integrity to develop before he could hold that kind of power – and before he could forgive the brothers who sold him into slavery.
Joseph is a beautiful example of how the interplay of power, integrity, and faith can enable leaders to have integrity of heart. God shaped and molded him in order to build character and integrity – and to bring glory to God.
As a leader, how do you glorify God with integrity of heart in your personal and professional life?
*excerpt from The Dichotomy of Power, by Nancy Reece
Featured Resource: The Great Leaders Study Guide Series