I am sure most of you have heard that the higher up the ladder of leadership one goes, the more prone she or he is to spiritual attacks. While there is much truth to this (I mean, what enemy to the Kingdom wants people actually living out God’s will for their life, which is inevitably advancing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth?!), how many of us know for certain the difference between a spiritual attack and something else? If we can’t identify the signs, we may be wasting our time engaged in the wrong battle.
(When we run out of gas, it’s not an attack, it’s because we didn’t pay attention to our dash board.)
For the past couple of months, one of my best friends and I have been working through Beth Moore’s Bible study, “A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place.” It looks at the similarities between the Old Testament Tabernacle and us as God’s dwelling place (I highly recommend it!). In the beginning of week 4, Moore asks this question about the Israelites, “Why would God position them in the wilderness as a battalion on the battlefield, with the conspicuous absence of an enemy?” The answer that is familiar to most of us, is that their greatest battle at that time was, “themselves.” Much of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness was spent helping them become the people of God that they were meant to be.
Often times in life, it can be challenging to determine whether we are under spiritual attack, or if there’s something more going on, like our own need to deal with personal issues. Moore offers a suggestion for how to distinguish between the two by quoting Henry Blackaby, which I would like to do as well. Not only is this something we need to learn how to differentiate for ourselves as leaders, but it is also something which we need to know how to teach others to do for themselves.
“Henry Blackaby has well said: ‘In every generation there seem to exist certain clichés used by members of the body of Christ. No doubt, on the top of the list for this generation are the words ‘I’m under attack!’ Every difficulty seems to be labeled ‘spiritual warfare.’ Without question we fight wars in the heavenlies; but before we can be sure it’s spiritual warfare, we must be able to answer three questions negatively: (1) Am I living outside the will of God? (2) Do I have any unconfessed sin? (3) Is God simply working His completion in me? Far more often, our difficulties originate from one of these three realms.'” (p. 75)
For a good reminder of how easily we are tempted to satisfy our own desires above God’s will, we can read Romans 7:14-25. As leaders, it is imperative for us to be able to read the spiritual seasons, for ourselves and the ministries God has entrusted to us, and to be able to help others to do the same.