Our third bag of leadership essentials is our character bag. In essence, this is about our identity. Our sonship. Isaiah 9:6 tells that a child was born; a son was given. Jesus grew up as a son, and at his baptism his Father declared “this is my son, with whom I am well pleased.” Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we ‘are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.’ Christlikeness is the goal of maturity. Isaiah 9 shows us that Jesus is both a son and a father for all eternity; He had no earthly father and no earthly sons! So maturity looks like being a father (or mother) and at the same time a son (or a daughter).

Jesus was a son who only did what he saw the Father doing. The most powerful position we can take in the Kingdom is a son. Being a son in the Kingdom means having right relationships with the Father and fathers; our heavenly Father and the earthly fathers He brings into our lives. Many failings of people could be avoided if they listened to fathers who could speak into their lives. Get fathers and mothers in your life!

Self-control grows through understanding and responding correctly in our relationship with the Father and fathers. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; it’s in the list in Galatians 5 because we need it. If it’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it must mean that He has to exercise self-control Himself at times! Self-control is the ability to manage and control ourself. We need the gift of self-government before we can healthily govern others! Learning to exercise internal government is the training ground for exercising external government. How can we shape the mountains of society if we can’t shape our own mountains?

If we want to shape education, we need to steward our own education and personal development.

Those of us who want to impact families need to model godly marriages, parenting and other family dynamics.

It’s imperative we influence the mountain of faith but we need to first ensure we are disciples ourselves and growing in our own personal spirituality.

Science and technology are an important mountain, which encompasses the area of health. Are we healthy? Are our body, soul and spirit all well, or have we neglected one, two or even all three?

Arts and media is an area that we seek to shape. How is our rest and recreation time? How do we apply the principle of Sabbath?

Economics is another mountain; so how is our work and finance? Are they in balance and stable, stewarded well?

The final mountain is the mountain of government; how is our own self-control and personal organisation?

The character bag is the identity bag, which is really the sonship bag. It needs to be secure, full and healthy before we go and healthily affect the world. We have a choice: do we go into the world like the prodigal who went or as a son who is sent? As we let ourselves be fathered by God and men, we get taught to do what we see our fathers doing. But to be fathered, we have to position ourselves as a son or daughter; we have to humbly make ourselves available, accessible, knowable and teachable.

True princes and princesses of Heaven serve.  They serve both the King and the people. Princess Diana exemplified this by bringing joy and hope to those she visited in hospital. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Bill Johnson says “we influence the mountains by serving them, not by conquering them.”

Our Heavenly Father is waiting for leaders who position themselves in submission to be sons and daughters, to be princes and princesses, to serve the King and the people.

What’s your plan to grow up?

This post is part of a series on Leadership Essentials, which can be purchased in audio or video format here.