What keeps a leader from moving forward with the plans and designs God has given them? What are the forces that neutralize a leader? What schemes has the enemy devised to prevent leaders from leading churches, companies and families to the Promised Land?
I don’t have all the answers and I am no leadership expert, but I am experienced. More importantly, I am determined to learn from my experiences. In the past 20 months, I have walked through transition, trauma, attacks, and victories. I have also discovered new levels of demonic attacks and subsequently, new degrees of God’s power.
Every leader who is a Christ follower is a target of the enemy. If leaders stop leading, the enemy wins and the Kingdom of God stops advancing. The three strategies most often used against Godly leaders are diminishment, discouragement and distractions.
Diminishment is the overwhelming feeling that everything around us is weakening, being reduced in strength, shrinking and becoming cheapened. The enemy uses trivial evidence to convince us that our momentum is a façade and in fact, we are losing ground. The truth is every healthy organism experiences loss. Our bodies shed millions of dead skin cells every day and are designed to eliminate waste. Our hair falls out while new hair grows in it is place – at least for most of us.
The enemy wishes to focus all of our attention on these losses while hiding our eyes from the remarkable growth that is also happening. Leaders must be aware of everything that is happening around them but not become fixated on just the losses. Make sure there are people around you that point out both the losses and the wins. Keep a balanced outlook and you will not fall into the trap of diminishment.
If you are stuck in the dungeon of diminishment, you will then fall prey to a much deadlier foe – discouragement. This is when we have lost all courage and all hope. We simply stop dreaming and stop trying because the challenge seems impossible and the risks too dangerous. It seems the air has left your sails, never to return.
Throughout Scripture we see leaders who battled discouragement. Moses was discouraged because he led a rebellious and stubborn people. Joshua was discouraged because the walls of the cities were thick and guarded by giants. The disciples were discouraged because their leader had been murdered. But in each case, these leaders turned their hearts toward heaven, confessed their discouragement and suddenly a new wind of heaven filled their sails so they could move forward. It seems that God likes leaders who admit their human weakness and declare their absolute dependence on Him.
If the enemy cannot convince us of diminishment or lead us into discouragement, he will try to distract us. He will try to convince us to do good things instead of God things. Recently, I became aware of a huge distraction in my life. I tried to do a good thing for the right reasons, but it caused me harm and hurt. I realized that I had become distracted by something that seemed noble, but in reality, it was a snare.
This requires leaders to be really alert and discerning. We must remember our primary purpose, and remind ourselves to stay the course and not divert off the main path. We must stop giving so much time to meaningless mental conversations about people we were not called to lead or problems that we were never called to solve. Our emotional tanks will be emptied if we continue with the distractions and that is not how God designed for us to live.
Leaders must lead and the enemy must be exposed. Go forward fellow leaders. Take those who are assigned to you to the green pastures God has prepared for all of us. Do not believe in diminishment, do not be discouraged and refuse to be distracted.