Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don't Discount the Devil

Honestly, we act as if the success of a church relies entirely upon hard work and programs. Now don't get me wrong, those two things have there place. I have seen many a pastor fail for lack of willingness to work hard for long hours. God doesn't excuse laziness. Programs give us the skeletal outline of our ministry and help us to organize ourselves to address needs (both spiritual and physical). But success in the christian life and , especially in ministry, comes to those who give the devil his due.

We are in a spiritual war. 1 Peter 5.8 warns us to be "self controlled and alert" because " Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him..." In all our work and our designing programs to address the various needs of the ministry and the people of God, are we resisting him? Or have we ignored him by putting together wonderful programs and slickly produced ministries?

Resisting the devil takes more than resisting temptation. Temptation is the entry level manner in which the enemy compromises our soul and weakens us. Make no mistake- spiritual power will not work through a vessel that consistantly compromises with sin. But satan will do other things as well to compromise ministry. He will discourage and defame; he will depress and spiritually wound; he will stir up problems around you; he will weaken you with a barrage of his resistance; he will distract you from your call. People will rise up against you- good people who are easily mislead by the devil- they will attack you, slander you, cause confusion and/or stand against you. Your call is to resist. We resist the discouragment by recieving only the Lord's accessment of our situation (from the Word); We resist the slander by not attacking back but by speaking truth in love; we resist distractions by prayerfully centering our life on the heart of our mission; we resist the confusion by speaking a clear vision for our life and ministry. Too often Christians are waylaid by the enemy because they haven't given the devil his due respect. Yes, respect for his power, for his craftiness, and for his effectiveness. This enemy is no joke!

The Call to Resistance is to stand in prayer and not let the enemy have his way with your soul, your mind, or your spirit and attitude. So ministry leader, how is your prayer life? What time do you invest in the presence? Or are you expecting to win a spiritual war with fleshly weapons? or can we say with Paul...

2 Cor 10:3-53 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.(NIV)

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