"For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12).
We know this is true and all too real, but are there practical ways to help us to take a stand? Yes.
" ... He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
The enemy's top five tactics:
1. Prevent humility, by promoting self-sufficiency. It's not likely that full on pride will be your downfall. You can see that coming. But pride can be sneaky. (The enemy is a schemer.) It often comes in the form of "I can do it." Things aren't working so you work harder instead of leaning more on God. Lean into your humble heart, depend on God.
2. Prevent unity, by creating division. The enemy loves it when churches split, staff teams compete, and church leaders don't get along. Division is the quiet killer of the church. It starts behind closed doors, and when it gets out it's a monster. Fight for unity in spirit, vision, and oneness on the team.
3. Prevent joy, by causing discouragement. If I had listed the tactics in order, this may be No. 1. I've seen discouragement take out more church leaders than anything else. Discouragement comes when your perspective becomes askew. When you think things like you are alone, no one cares, and nothing is working. Get some time with a trusted friend to help you see more clearly. God is with you and you are doing something that matters.
4. Prevent commitment by encouraging complacency. On many a Monday morning pastors want to resign. Have you been there? Yet you rethink that and stay, but perhaps pull your foot off the throttle just a little. It's not that you don't care, but slide into a more comfortable place of complacency thinking "This is good enough." That's what the enemy wants. He knows you will likely not quit, so he's happy to have you let up on your fierce commitment. Hang tough. Remember your calling.
5. Prevent peace, (and closeness with God), by busyness. The peace of God is such a great gift, of course the enemy doesn't want you to have it. And what better way to steal it from you than in your work in ministry. Don't let busyness crowd out your time with God, your family and some fun along the way.
Humility, unity, joy, commitment and peace are not new to you, but perhaps you see them in a different light. Don't make them another to-do list. Don't make this more work for yourself, or you may end up inadvertently stepping into more busyness. This is a lifetime process. Know that God is with you and provides you with protection.
"Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:13, see full armor—Eph. 6:14-17).
We can see this is not a passive process and that we are called to take action. Paul closes this passage by reminding us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests! With this is mind, be alert.
Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY.
For the original article, visit danreiland.com.
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