Diminishment, Discouragement and Distractions

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

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.

Discouragement

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.

Distractions

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Gary Clausen

    May 6, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Pastor Brady,

    I think we all go through periods where we get discouraged. I’m coming out of such a period: just discouraged with the way things are. We need leadership to pull us out of it but in some cases we have to help ourselves and just take inventory of things. I may not be rich, have the nicest house or cars but I do have the knowledge of Jesus. I have a stable family at home. I have New Life Church which has been my salvation.

    All of us should be leaders in one way or another. We may not be called to lead a company or church but setting a good example is a form of leadership.

    Thank you for being an outstanding leader, I hope you know what it means to people.

    Sincerely,

    Gary Clausen

  2. Dear Pastor Brady,
    I am French and Roman Catholic. I know it’s not a good start… 🙂
    Just ten days ago or so I discovered the website of the New Life Church and started listening and watching your Sunday sermons. A few weeks before that I listened to the most empowering Easter Sunday sermon I had ever heard in a Catholic Church.
    If I put these two events in parallel it is just that they both had a very clear impact on my life. I realize the necessity of changing the way I relate to God and consequently who I am and what I do to be in constant research of what Our Lord wants for me.
    So far I have a good job but have to work in a very nasty atmosphere far from any Christian based principles. I was baptized as an adult in 2001 and after a time during which I really asked God to lead my life I was back to my old vomit and sinned time and again.
    Reading your post has had a very positive effect as I recognized that one doesn’t need to be a leader to be overcomed by diminishment, discouragement and distraction.
    God doesn’t necessarily want me to become a group, church, family… leader, but he surely wants me to live my own life under His guidance.
    A half hour before reading your note I was once again discouraged by news (within the next 20-30 years, Brussels, administrative capital of Europe will have a majority of its population of muslim confession !) and was asking God : “What are we supposed to do about that ? “. Reading your post gave me the answer.
    I cannot be discouraged trying to figure out solution to problems way above my competence but I certainly can pray God to provide our leaders with a clearer picture of what He wants for us.
    Thank you Pastor Brady and may I ask you to pray for me… and Europe.

  3. Tony Adebonojo

    May 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Pierre:

    I hope you get to read this. I so appreciate your comments about discouragement. I know you know the christian life is a journey. I hope you are able to fellowship with likeminded people in a good church.

    God loves all of us and I know He desires for us all to have an intimate relationship with him that recogizes the power of his love to sustain us even as we overcome the falls we experience. i hope you are blessed by Pastor Brady’s messages.

    God loves you and I will pray for you.

    Grace to you.

    Tony

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