Chuck Lawless offers up this list of ways that leaders often find themselves vulnerable to spiritual attack. Here are the first four:
1. We focus on others, often to the neglect of ourselves. We are caregivers, rightly recognizing our responsibility to watch over the souls of others (Heb. 13:17). As pastors or lay leaders, we want to love people who re hurting, guide young believers, challenge older believers, and influence our community. Ministry, after all, is about others. When we neglect our own spiritual and physical well being in the process, though, we make ourselves susceptible to the enemy.
2. We replace spiritual disciplines with ministry activity. Church leaders can always find something else to do. There are always others to reach and many to train. Hospitalized church members beckon. Broken marriages need counseling. So many are the ministry hours we put in that we’re tempted to remind others of our sacrifice. Too little time is left for personal spiritual disciplines—and the enemy’s target is on our back.
3. We do ministry in our own power. Sometimes we go through the motions of ministry. We’ve been trained. We’ve read the books. Perhaps we have years of experience. We know how to do ministry, so we just do it with little praying and less dependence—and few people recognize we lack the power of God. In this case, we’re not only vulnerable to attack; we’re already losing the battle.
4. We think failure will never happen to us. I know few leaders who readily admit their susceptibility to falling. After all, leaders don’t become leaders by being weak. They are focused on the vision. They are committed. Their conviction inspires others. As leaders, we should indeed strive for these characteristics. When our confidence overshadows our recognition of the enemy’s schemes, though, we may be in trouble.
What would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below!