Last year, I wrote a long piece or short ebook on leading yourself. I’m going to roll it out, piece by piece, over the next couple of weeks on my blog. This has never been published before. So here we go. Here’s the second piece:
Know Your Battle
Years ago I read a book called The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. In the book, Neil says of spiritual warfare, “If you’re a Christian, you’re a target. If you’re in ministry, you’re a bullseye.” That statement struck me hard and has always stayed with me.
The Bible warns us, too. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Later verse 9 goes on to say, “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
So, we are encouraged to “stay alert” and “watch out”. We’re also told to “stand firm” and “be strong”. We’re also reminded that Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are fighting this same battle with a very real enemy.
It’s important to keep this perspective as you go throughout your ministry career. You have a enemy – a shrewd, crafty and tricky, deceitful enemy that will do whatever it takes to frustrate you, discourage you, make you afraid, see you stumble and fall into sin and if he was allowed to – he’d kill you. This should sober you up and behoove you to put on your spiritual armor. (Ephesians 6:13-17).
There’s nothing more precious to you and wanted by our enemy (remember the “You Have an Enemy” chapter?) than to be pure. I’m talking about your character and integrity – who you are when no one’s looking.
Like being humble, this is also easier said than done. Purity flows out of the overflow of a heart that’s in love with Jesus and walking in the Spirit daily. Purity also takes a lot of wisdom, intentionality and purpose. You must set out to be pure and put up guards in your life to help protect your purity.
I’ve mentioned before that my wife and my best friend get sent an email of what websites I go to – this is a guard in my life. You may have something similar. It’s important to protect yourself (and your kids) from the dangers of the internet.
Purity also comes from setting boundaries with co-workers. It’s not okay to flirt with your admin or that new woman on the children’s ministry staff. You must know what is appropriate and what’s not.
Part of setting up boundaries is to have some close friends that can hold you accountable, have permission to speak freely into your life and ask the tough questions. If you’ve ever struggled with porn or a wandering eye, you should confess that to a person of the same sex that you trust and ask them to check up on you. Meet with them from time to time to read the Bible, pray and just talk. If you’ve slipped up, tell them and confess out loud. Ask them to pray for you and see how you can pray for them. You’ll probably find out you’re not alone and you can be a source of strength for someone else in need.