We are called to be different from the world, to develop and display Christ like attributes. We choose to be common, or we choose to be holy. Just as the articles in the temple were consecrated and set apart as holy, we too must be holy and not allow ourselves to be used for common purposes. Both our speech and our actions should reflect the character of Christ. If we do not lead by example, we are no better than the religious leaders in Christ’s day whose actions did not match their words.
Paul calls godly leaders to be respectable in 1 Timothy 3:2. The Greek word used is kosmios, which means orderly, modest, and virtuous. This is where Latinized form of the word cosmos originated, with which we are more familiar. We use cosmos to refer to the universe, but it also means to order, arrange, equip, adorn, and dress. God put the universe in perfect order and dressed it in an array of light and color that mankind could never imagine, and is just beginning to discover. He was deliberate and intentional in His creation.
To be orderly is to adorn ourselves with purposeful and intentional speech, dress, and behavior. What we say and do should always point to our savior and not to ourselves. This means we should not be attention seekers. Attention seeking takes on various forms, such as coarse language, suggestive dress, or unseemly actions, the opposite of which would be modesty.
Obscenity is used today by many for its shock value. It is also used by people who wish to be perceived as intimidating, and/or to sound common and fit in with what is considered the norm. Paul says we should not use obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking (Ephesians 5:4). This extends beyond using the Lord’s name in vain, for how does it glorify God when we use obscenity in our everyday speech or when we are angry? Likewise, we do not need to use obscenity to persuade unbelievers. The Holy Spirit will appeal to unbelievers. We are to deliver the message in the manner prescribed by God and allow the Holy Spirit to do the convicting.
Leaders should not engage in activities that bring disorder into their lives. Examples would include the use of mind altering substances (legal or otherwise), such as marijuana. Don’t allow the enemy to tear your testimony apart by consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and be very mindful of the effects of prescription medications. We need to avoid being drawn into arguments, gossip, or negative talk. When we enter a room, leave the desire to be noticed behind. Avoid “showing off”.
God gave mankind the gift of free will. He does not order us to make the right choices. We also need to understand that we cannot control others. We need to step back and allow those around us to make their own choices, good or bad. This includes husbands, we are to trust God to work with them and not engage in telling them what to do. Asking and accepting their answer is keeping God in control. A leader should be a good example of godly humility and trust, especially in our home.
Lastly, suggestive dress should always be avoided. The enemy uses this as a snare and it will not lead to anything God honoring. Immodest dress creates ungodly chatter among women, and lustful desires among men.
Always be mindful that as leaders we are being observed and often emulated. What we do and say can be used by God for His glory, or by the enemy as entrapment.