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Summary: If you want to be an effective leader, don’t let alcohol control you, don’t let anger control you, and don’t let money control you. Instead, let Christ control you so you can lead others to Him.

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Once upon a time there was a teacher in Texas who was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help, and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” She looked, and sure enough, they were.

It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, “These aren’t my boots.” She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, “Why didn’t you say so?”

Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, “They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear ’em.” Now she didn’t know if she should laugh or cry, but she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.

Helping him into his coat, she asked, “Now, where are your mittens?” He said, “I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots.” (John Beukema, Chambersburg, PA, www.PreachingToday.com)

As any teacher knows, it takes a lot of patience and self-control to work with children, but often it takes even more self-control to work with their parents. You see, that’s what it takes to be an effective leader. A leader must first learn to lead himself if he wants to be effective in leading others young or old. He must learn to control his own passions if he is going to help people control or channel their passions in the right direction.

If you have your Bible, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Timothy 3, 1 Timothy 3, where the Bible talks about the qualities of an effective leader, and one of those absolutely essential qualities is self-control. Take a look at it in…

1 Timothy 3:3 A good leader is “not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” (NIV)

If you want to be an effective leader, then you cannot let anything control you. First…

DON’T LET ALCOHOL CONTROL YOU.

Or as the text says, don’t be "given to drunkenness."

Proverbs 31:4 says, “It is…not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive the oppressed of their rights.” (NIV) Drinking alcohol is NOT appropriate for leaders, because it affects their judgment.

The only people alcohol helps are those who are dying. That same passage in Proverbs goes on to say, “Give beer to those who are perishing…let them drink and remember their misery no more” (Proverbs 31:6-7). Alcohol eases the pain associated with the last stages of the dying process, but it erases the perspective of a leader who wants to help people really live.

One recovering alcoholic put it this way:

I drank for happiness and became unhappy.

I drank for joy and became miserable.

I drank for sociability and became argumentative.

I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious.

I drank for sleep and woke up tired.

I drank for strength and felt weak.

I drank for relaxation and got the shakes.

I drank for courage and became afraid.

I drank for confidence and became doubtful.

I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech.

I drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell. (Dear Abby, April 22, 1993).

Alcohol is not a good thing, especially for a leader.

Max Lucado, one of America’s great Christian leaders, found that out earlier in his ministry. He once said, “I come from a family of alcoholism. If there’s anything about this DNA stuff, I’ve got it.” For more than 20 years, drinking was not a major issue for Lucado, but about 10 years ago, it nearly became one. Lucado recalled, “I lowered my guard a bit. One beer with a barbecue won’t hurt. Then another time with Mexican food. Then a time or two with no food at all.”

One afternoon on his way to speak at a men’s retreat he began to plot: “Where could I buy a beer and not be seen by anyone I know?” He drove to an out-of-the-way convenience store, parked, and waited till all the patrons left. He entered, bought a beer, held it close to his side, and hurried to his car. “I felt a sense of conviction,” Lucado remembers, “because the night before I’d had a long talk with my oldest daughter about not covering things up.”

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