Influence or Integrity?

Ancient Job's character is clearly described in the opening verse of the book bearing his name [] – He was a man of integrity: He was decent, he feared God, and he stayed away from evil. He was also considered "the most influential person in the middle east." Weighty words of description. I've often read that leadership may be defined as influence. Is a good leader a person of integrity or influence? Can they be one without being the other? Are they one and the same or is there a distinction? These two words have very different meanings. One is based in power, the other in character.

Job's story can be a troubling one. It begins with a glowing description of his character and presence. Nowadays, we might say he had it all. But, there was far more to this man than wealth and success. God testified on behalf of his character. He prayed for his sons and daughters after a time of feasting. He stayed away from evil. Job's story turns abruptly when the persona of evil enters – Satan, the adversary, the accuser, the father of all lies. Satan challenges Job's character, and God allows him to test Job severely.
Amazingly, after losing his children, his wealth, and his health, he still doesn't turn on God. He did curse the day he was born and claimed a righteousness of his own. But he didn't curse God. The story is a long-winded dialog between Job and his friends, and eventually God intervenes to restore Job. Once restored, Job prays for the restoration of his friends, who came as comforters. Of course, the ultimate question Job asked, his friends tortured him with, and we ask at various points in life is — why? I believe this is where the distinction between integrity and influence exists in the area of godly leadership.
Job's integrity was the basis for his influence as a leader. But where did his integrity come from? His confident, genuine relationship with God. His faith – he feared God. Looking at a definition of influence, power is an important element. Synonyms include — authority, clout, leverage. Job's character, his integrity, was based in his trust in God. It was also the base for his influence with others. There are many leaders known for their powerful influence, their authority, their clout, their ability to leverage deals and situations. But do they have integrity? I'm not speaking of the corporate world where that may be common place, but leaders throughout the Bible and the church.
There have been many leaders who have had great influence, but lacked integrity. Some leaders in the Bible that come to mind are various kings who ruled Israel, beginning with Saul, including those most wicked. Solomon started out well, but seemed to lose his integrity from the influence of his wives and concubines, though he never seemed to lose his clout. As far as church leaders, I won't name names, but suffice it say, many have revealed themselves by how hard they have fallen, because they lacked integrity such as Job's.
When leadership is equated with influence the idea is primarily of being an example. If the example emanates integrity, the influence will likely be good. If a leader's influence by example is based on power or position, it will not tend to have such a good effect. I've learned a lot by the example of others, but it wasn't always because of their integrity. What I learned through their example influenced me in a way that was unintended by them, but became useful. One of the most useful elements is how it challenges me to examine my own example. Am I leading, and is my influence as a leader, based in integrity of character, or something else? I'd like to say it's the former, but I know it's not always the case. My wife and children, as well as former staff (now friends), have provided plenty of insight that it was otherwise.
We all lead in some way. We all have some influence on others. It may be as a parent or it may be through some other role we have in life. It may simply be our being a believer among unbelievers. If we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we become extra-ordinary in the truest sense of the word – we're not ordinary, we're beyond ordinary, especially in the light of eternity. And so, I want to pose a question you could ask yourself from time to time, as I likewise need to do. Does our influence in the lives of others reflect integrity of character, based on our trust in God — or is it based on our role or position of authority? A simpler way of looking at it is by examining our daily life-example. Do we have influence in the lives of others because of how we live or how we lead?