By Katie Pearson
“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2: 24-26
If you are on the frontlines of God’s kingdom, you are a threat to the prince of this world. Leadership is a spiritual battle, and until we accept that reality, we will not prepare adequately. We are already victorious in Christ and are given a spirit of “power, love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7), but we can’t let our guard down in our daily spiritual battles.
Satan’s greatest weapon is deception. Because he can’t physically touch you or make you do anything, he messes with your mind. He will do whatever he can to convince you that you are not qualified to lead, God is not trustworthy, and you should quit. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have been listening to these voices lately and not the voice of truth. Jesus was tempted by the devil three times, and in every instance, responded with the most effective and definitive weapon we possess: Scripture.
Of all the pieces of spiritual armor Paul refers to in Ephesians 6, the sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God, is the only component designed to be used both defensively and offensively. We need to be skilled at both in order to prevent dangerous untruths or false teaching from infiltrating our minds or the church.
How do we offensively care for ourselves? A soldier wouldn’t go into battle without first mastering sword fighting. Paul counsels leaders in spiritual training to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24). The devil attacks our desires with untruths, so we must apply ourselves to learning what God says. Don’t just pick and choose verses and conveniently apply them to situations. Study all of God’s Word, even the seemingly irrelevant books. This attitude, coupled with faith-based action steps to live like a believer, will protect us.
Furthermore, we read God’s Word for ourselves and our sanctification, not just to prepare a sermon or share a verse with a hurting friend. Teachers are tempted to study with the sole intent of edifying others. When you are in teaching mode, it’s easy to tune out the Holy Spirit’s voice speaking to your own heart. The sword is the Holy Spirit, and without it, leaders cannot survive.
Reflection: What book of the Bible have you avoided because it’s too boring or irrelevant? Do you feel the Spirit nudging you to read the entire Old Testament? God’s Word is the most important and powerful weapon we possess to ward off Satan's attempts to run us off the battlefield. The Psalms teach us to meditate on God’s Word day and night, until it speaks to our every thought and drives every action. Commit to being a good steward of your godly influence by being a diligent student of the Holy Scriptures. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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