Biblical leadership always begins with our example. If we’re not living the life, nothing we say calling others to the life will be of much value. You’ve heard it said that what you do speaks so much louder than what you say that I can’t hear what you say. Paul has already instructed Titus to look for people with good reputations regarding their sexual conduct and their family priorities. Now he adds that a person must not be “self-willed.” The phrase describes the uncooperative spirit that demands its own way regardless of the views of others or regardless of the consequences.

Self-willed people are often successful people by the world’s standards. The aggressive, self-assertive people gain the reputation of being able to get things done. But this characteristic is not what biblical leadership is all about. Every believer must be continually on guard against self-will, self-fulfillment, self-assertion, and self-glory. It not only disregards and belittles the views and welfare of others, but also can even disregard and attempt to replace God’s will with its own.

When things don’t go your way, do you pout and dig in your heels? Do you take a stubborn attitude that resists authority and insists on your own way? That’s the response that Dathan and Abiram had to Moses’ invitation to a meeting (Num. 16:12). Their attitude seemed to be the all-too-common one of “My way or the highway!” The tragic outcome of Korah’s rebellion is a lesson in conflict resolution. Stubbornness can be a valuable asset in overcoming obstacles. But when the “obstacle” standing in one’s way is a divinely appointed authority, as Moses was, then resistance is not the right course. How do you go about resolving conflict and dealing with disappointment? Have you worn out your shoes—and your relationships—by digging in your heels too many times? Why not try a different approach?

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…” 1 Peter 2:13