7 Characteristics of A Healthy Leader

As I was reading in Ephesians it hit me, there are 7 characteristics that Paul writes about in chapter 5 verses 15-21 that describe the “wise” person and the “spirit filled” person.

The chapter headings in my Bible for Ephesians 5 (The one made of leather and paper and the only one I used while in College) says “Be Imitators of God.” The chapter heading in one of the 11 Bibles I have on my computer says, “Living In The Light.”

Being “wise,” “spirit filled,” “imitators of God,” and “living in the light” are certainly great reminders for healthy leaders. Below are the 7 characteristics Paul writes about in Ephesians 5: 15-21.

1. Healthy Leaders Are Careful

So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. Ephesians 5:15 NCV

If you were to look at the Greek for this word “Careful” you would find that it is made up of two words. One that suggests exactness and the other that suggests “Earnest Contemplation.” As one commentator puts it the word Careful suggests, “The manner, as well as the act itself.”

2. Healthy Leaders Are Resourceful

Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. Ephesians 5:16 NCV

Making the most of your time doesn’t mean working all the time. Use every chance, take advantage of the time you have, redeem the time! A healthy leader deals skillfully with the opportunities they have without overdoing it.

3. Healthy Leaders Are Thoughtful

So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:17 NCV

You and I can do “all things through Christ who give us strength" (Philippians 4:13). Paul isn’t giving us a recommendation of how to do more and still have strength. In the context, Paul is saying he has strength for all things that come his way. Be thoughtful of what God wants you to do then you will have the power to do it!

4. Healthy Leaders Are Joyful

Do not be drunk with wine, which will ruin you, but be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 NCV

The reason Paul talks about being drunk with wine is not to contrast it to being filled with the Spirit. He actually writes it to compare it to being filled with the Spirit…in a favorable way. As one commentator puts it, “The effect in inspiration was that the person was "filled" with an ecstatic exhilaration, like that caused by wine; hence the two are here connected.” Be joyful…without the adult beverage.

5. Healthy Leaders Are Cheerful

Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. Ephesians 5:19 NCV

Being polite and cheerful is a sign that joy has sunk deep into the leaders heart. Be encouraging, uplifting and empowering to others. Laugh, smile and be cheerful.

6. Healthy Leaders Are Thankful

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 NCV

A healthy leader is a thankful leader who actively expresses gratitude in all things, even in the midst of pain and difficulty where God is strengthening the leaders character. The attitude of ungratefulness in the leaders life is usually a byproduct of entitlement which is rooted in pride.

7. Healthy Leaders Are Respectful

Yield to obey each other as you would to Christ. Ephesians 5:21 NCV

“Yield to obey” is often used as a military term meaning “to rank under.” Healthy leaders humble themselves and subject themselves to others. They have a respectful and honoring spirit toward others. “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10.


1. Which one of the above characteristics do you need to mindful of this week?
2. Is there one specific characteristic that seems to be easier for you?
3. Which trait do you think is most important for leaders to have?

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