God's Power: Spiritual Weaponry

As a leader in the Church, you will face many battles. Some will be philosophical in nature. Some will be personality clashes. Others will be because of poor choices or sin. And, many situations will be spiritual wherein Satan is seeking to disrupt God's work so the Lord is not glorified in your midst.
Sometimes problems that begin because of a natural or fleshly cause can turn into a spiritual battle as the enemy finds inroads due to us having opened the door because of sin. Church leaders must be aware of this potential and pull on the power of God to overcome.

Fighting with Divine Weapons

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:4)
Spiritual battles must be fought with spiritual weapons. Communication skills are essential for leaders but insufficient to convince people believing the lies of Satan. Administrative skills are important but will not work at managing spiritual battles. Programs can be useful tools for accomplishing certain objectives but spiritual battles cannot be programmed away.
Leaders, look to God for the strength and power to fight these battles. "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (Eph. 6:10)

Fortifying Against the Foe

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Eph. 6:11)
We must begin with an awareness of how the enemy operates ". . . in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Cor. 2:11).
While much could be said about the schemes of the devil, we'll boil it down to two points of which leaders must be aware.
  1. Satan prowls about looking for the unsuspecting, the unprepared, the unalert. (1 Pet. 5:8)
    Leaders, you must acknowledge that Satan is a formidable foe. You cannot let your guard down. He will look for the slightest cracks through which he will stealthfully creep in to take you unaware. By the time you realize he's there, much damage is already done. You must exercise self-control. Be aware. Be ready. Be alert. Be diligent.
  2. Satan specializes in deception, even disguising himself as an angel of light. (Jn. 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:14)
    Leaders, you must guard your heart and take thoughts captive in their infancy. Do not entertain or tolerate even a hint of mistruth in your own heart or in the Body.
    • These lies have a way of building on top of one another until you have a fortress or stronghold that blocks you from seeing the Lord, the One who can make a difference. It will be harder and harder to remember the truth of who He is (2 Cor. 10:4-5). As that happens it will be easier and easier to misinterpret circumstances as He is the standard against which everything must be measured.
    • These lies have a way of contaminating motives and chipping away at integrity until you become lukewarm in your devotion to Christ losing the passion and purity you once had (2 Cor. 11:3). As that happens you will merely be going through the motions, looking the part but inwardly dry, dull, and damaged, destroying effectiveness because apart from Christ you cannot bear fruit; you can do nothing of eternal value (Jn. 15:5).

Focusing on the Right Battles

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:11-12)
When you, or others in the Body, have strongholds that block you from seeing the Lord in the fullness of who He is, you lose perspective. You are no longer looking at life from your position with Him in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:6). Consequently, you can no longer see the big picture. You are caught up in the entangled webs below instead of rising above. You are a part of the problem. From that position you see each other rather than the spiritual battle raging around you. Instead of using the powerful, divine weaponry, you will try to fix things yourself and you will be applying the wrong solutions. What started small turns bad and keeps getting worse.
When people become the battle focus instead of evil and the evil one, you will be developing dysfunction, dividing the body, and destroying relationships. People will not know you by your love. The Church which is to be the light and salt in this world will be rendered ineffective. Those who are to be adorning the Gospel will be defacing it.
Leaders, constantly remind yourself and the Body of this truth. Remember what is at stake.

Finishing Well

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Eph. 6:13)
God provides the Church with divine power, spiritual weapons powerful enough to tear down strongholds, to break cycles of deception and dysfunction, to release the enemy's hold in people's lives. We do not have to yield any more ground to evil. However, we must do everything God has provided for us to stand. We must be diligent in pulling on His power. We cannot turn a blind eye.
Leaders, in the end you need to be able to say that you have done all that you could do. When you stand before God, you cannot say, "I was so busy" or "I didn't think it would get that out of hand" or "I tried to say something." You cannot take spiritual warfare lightly. God provides warnings and resources so you can keep standing no matter how difficult or intense the battle becomes. -- "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." (Eph. 6:10)
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