The church is under attack and the enemy is relentless; but regardless, we have authority over all his power. While authority over the enemy is promised to us as believers, we cannot ignore the reality that the authority is ours to use or to not use.
As ministers we not only incur a greater judgment by people, but we also have a greater responsibility to walk in the Word and to live by faith. Doing this not only brings deliverance, but serves as an example to those we teach and to those we are ministering to. When the attacks come (and according to Jesus in the last days they will), as leaders we must be prepared. We can’t wait until we fall overboard to take swimming lessons. We must be prepared now.
As these attacks come, there are five things that we must remember.
1) As a leader, you must know the Word and you must know it personally.
It’s tempting for pastors and teachers to study in order to know what to teach someone else. That’s good, but it should never be to the exclusion of personal Bible study and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word of God in a personal direct way. It’s tempting to always feel that what we receive from the Holy Spirit is for someone else and that God is using us as His conduit to get His Word to them. While God does use us that way, we must never ignore the reality that we must hear from God personally ourselves. So take some personal time in the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to teach and train you so that your shield of faith will be strong when the attack comes.
2) Stay battle ready.
In Ephesians we are told to: gird our waists with truth; put on the breastplate of righteousness; shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; take the shield of faith; take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit; and pray always (Ephesians 6:14-18). Some of these items are defensive and some are offensive. But the one thing they have in common is they are for the battle. While personal encouragement is good and we should always be full of joy, we must never forget that the church is to be dressed in battle gear. We were never told to dress casually.
3) Don’t become offended.
When you enter into the ministry, you will always find those who tell you what you need to do, and those who will tell you how you could have done what you have done better. There will be those who will stand beside you and claim they will never leave you, but in times of crisis they are nowhere to be found.
Years ago, a worship team leader at my church wanted to have a special meeting after the morning service. The purpose of this meeting was for him to let me know how much he loved me and how much my ministry had changed his life and that one thing for certain, for years to come, I would always be able to depend on him. I would forever be his pastor. The next Sunday he didn’t show up at church and I later discovered that he was the new worship leader at the church down the street.
While it’s tempting to be hurt by those who offend us, and it’s tempting to be proud by those who compliment us, we must never be led by complaints or compliments. You must walk offense-free and be led by the Spirit of God.
4) Stay physically fit.
Eat right, take your vitamins, and exercise. I am not advocating that you become a physical fitness fanatic, but what I am saying is this. It is easier for the devil to break you down emotionally when you don’t feel well physically. There are some things that are unchangeable – your age, your height, and your gender. But there are some things you can change. You are the one who decides how much you work, what you eat, and whether you go for a walk or not. The enemy will beat you down any way he can because he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But when you feel refreshed and good about yourself physically, it creates greater ability to see the truth.
In the early years of my life, I worked as a male nurse in a psychiatric ward in a major hospital. I will never forget one of the things I learned. When a person is depressed and thinking of suicide, turn on the lights, open the curtains, get fresh air, and turn off the sad music. Too many ministers believe that being fit spiritually is the only thing that matters. But while on this earth we must never forget that according to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we are a three-part being. We are a spirit, soul, and body and each portion affects the others.
5) Giving up is not an option.
In the Bible everything is conditional because everything hinges on choices. If we believe in Jesus, then we receive salvation (John 3:16). If we seek first His kingdom, then these things are added unto us (Matthew 6:33). God has placed before us life and death in every area (Deuteronomy 30:19). He wants us to choose life.
On this earth as the apostles in the end time church, when attacks come we must determine that quitting or giving up is not an option. Regardless of how severe the storm is, regardless of how big the enemy looks, regardless of how imminent defeat may appear, we must never forget the truths in the Word of God.
Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). We must remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and never forget that the victory that has overcome the world is our faith (1 John 5:4). It has already been established. The battle has been won. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t back down. Stay in faith and you will have victory.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9).