The Tower of Pisa, located just outside of Rome, Italy is an example of this truth. First constructed in 1,117 AD it began leaning when it was only 35 ft high. Today it stands 179 ft tall and continues to threaten collapse. The reason? A faulty foundation. It was built upon insecure, unequally settled ground that is unable to support its own towering weight.
By contrast, consider the Sears Tower in Chicago Illinois. Having 110 stories, it rises ¼ mile in the air—1,454 ft. high. It is constructed of 76,000 tons of steel and enough concrete to build an 8 lane highway 5 miles long. This mammoth structure is 8 times the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and stands secure; it refuses to lean even an inch. The reason? –It has a firm foundation. Beneath the Sears Tower is 114 solid rock footings that sink deep into the underlying bedrock—just one of those footings is sunk as deep as the Statue of Liberty is high. It is this foundation that holds this superstructure firmly in place. No wind, no storm, no tremor has ever succeeded in toppling it or the 1,600 people who work safely within its walls.
A leader’s character is like the foundation of a building. If it is not strong, deep and firmly fixed in place, the man’s life and all he has built will eventually fall. It does not matter how anointed he is, how attractive his ministry or powerful his gifts, without character, all threatens to collapse. It has been said, “Charisma can take a man to the top, but only character will keep him there.” It is character that keeps a man honest, ethical and pure. It is character that binds us to our godly responsibilities. It is character that holds us up when the heavy temptations of leadership threaten to pull us down.
Leadership will destroy the man whose character has not been prepared for it. With higher levels come higher devils. Advancement, enlargement and promotion in the Kingdom of God bring fiercer temptations, harsher attacks and greater opportunities for destruction. This means that before God takes us higher (by elevating our position or increasing our anointing), He needs to deepen our foundation. Too many have been promoted before their character was enlarged to support that promotion. As a result, they became top heavy like the Tower of Pisa and eventually fell.
Columnist Cindy Adams wrote, “Success has made failures of many men.” It is sad but true. Too many “successful” leaders have collapsed under the weight of their promotion. Intermittent ethical compromises that once seemed like insignificant cracks in the foundation of a small building, became gaping breaches of immorality in the place of enlargement. Impure motives, like a sleeping giant, were awakened by the egotistic opportunities afforded in success. The spirituality that first initiated their increase was eroded by secret sins, and sadly, the heights to which they ascended came crashing down. Their foundation—their character was unable to support the pressures of their heightened success. Only when we allow God to deepen our character, will we be able to support greater levels of spiritual promotion and higher heights of tangible anointing.