Five Weapons Every Leader Must Have…And Use!
Tools to Help Fight the Battle Against Darkness.
If you are a follower of Jesus and hold a position of leadership, you are engaged in a war. There is an intentional, strategic battle being waged against those whom God calls to leadership in the kingdom of God. This blog is written to all of you who acknowledge that battle and who seek to lead effectively in the midst of it (if you dismiss the notion of spiritual warfare then I suggest you keep this article handy for when this battle is revealed to you, for if you are a leader, be certain it will).
In 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4 Paul states it clearly,
“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.”
This passage makes three things abundantly clear: 1) there is warfare underway, 2) it involves us, and 3) we have specific weapons with which to fight this war.
Once we understand that as leaders we are warriors engaged in this battle, the first question we might ask is: “Where are my weapons?” The answer to that question begins with a correct understanding of the definition and purpose of a weapon.
A weapon is anything you can use that destroys your enemy’s ability to wage war against you! In this spiritual war the definition of a weapon is anything we can use that destroys Satan’s ability to wage war against us!
With this definition in mind there are five strategic “weapons” in our arsenal with which we can effectively wage war against the evil one. These may surprise you, but be not mistaken, in wielding them we live and lead as true allies of the King in His determination to “destroy the works of the devil.”
Weapon #1: Forgiveness
When we forgive we destroy Satan’s ability to wage war against us through anger, bitterness and resentment. These attitudes undermine the effectiveness of leaders and poison the culture of the organizations they lead. As soon as we are placed in authority over others we face countless challenges to our leadership. Some are personal and painful. Some are meant to derail us and discourage us. Regardless of the motive, every such challenge can breed in us a spirit that runs counter to our desire to be selfless, steward leaders.
Our weapon against such a negative, defeating spirit is the powerful weapon of forgiveness. As leaders called by God the first thing He expects of us is to follow His example of forgiveness. He expects us to have the same attitude towards those who hurt us as He had towards those who crucified Him. When we return the enemy’s challenges to our leadership with an attitude of humility and forgiveness in Jesus’ name, we rob him of the ability to wage war against us in this first and vital area.
Weapon #2: Generosity
When we are generous we take the fight to the enemy and destroy his ability to wage war against us through the love of money and the deceitfulness of riches. Jesus knows that in this Great Battle, Satan’s unrelenting strategy against us is to deceive us, to lie to us. Jesus knows his strategy and warns us to be aware, on guard and vigilant in all dealings with money.
As leaders we are constantly dealing with budgets, income, cash flow and sustainability issues. The enemy can lead us into the trap of believing that money is the answer to our problems. When we become overly focused on money – raising it, spending it, saving it, investing it, etc. – we can come dangerously close to loving it, depending on it and placing our security and trust in how much of it we possess.
Christian leaders who look to financial resources as their basis of security and measurement of success are being set up for a devastating defeat in this war. A covetous heart breeds a greedy spirit and both lead to the downfall of leaders. With so much pressure on us to raise more funds and balance budgets, this is supreme warfare!
The weapon of generosity is wielded by a spirit of freedom with regards to money. When we view our work as stewards we are set free to trust God for the resources we need. The freedom that results will engender in us and our organization a joyful, generous spirit. Such a spirit neutralizes and disarms this powerful weapon of the enemy. It is one of our most powerful weapons as leaders.
Weapon #3: A Clear Conscience
Paul says, “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man”(Acts 24:16). Again he says, “I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience….”(2 Timothy 1:3). Maintaining a clear conscience before both God and humankind is one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal with which we engage the evil one and his war against us.
A clear conscience destroys Satan’s ability to wage war against us through guilt, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, and a sense of inferiority. When we have a clear conscience we can stand in the presence of the King knowing that all of the accusations that the devil can throw at us, whether they are true or not, have been resolved and covered by the blood of Jesus.
As leaders we must understand that it is God’s forgiveness of us that gives us a clear conscience. When we come to know the freedom and power of forgiveness for ourselves we can then help others gain the same experience by forgiving them. The leader that can wage the greatest battle for the Kingdom is not just the one who knows they are loved, but the one who knows they are forgiven.
There are three keys leaders need to be able to follow Paul’s example and engage in this battle with a clear conscience: humility, confession and repentance. Humility defines our posture before God. Confession speaks to our self-examination and honesty with our sin. Repentance is the action of turning from that sin and pursuing holiness. All three are components of this awesome weapon that so disarms and defeats the enemy’s ability to defeat us.
Weapon #4: Wisdom
Wisdom gives the ability to see life and leadership from God’s perspective. When we see things from His perspective we make better and different decisions. The weapon of wisdom destroys Satan’s ability to deceive us into making decisions based on our own wisdom or tempt us into believing that God does not have a clear word for us in every choice before us. The enemy wants us to believe our own press and trust our own judgment. Perhaps the wisest man that ever lived challenges us,
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)
Wisdom requires humility and a thirsting after intimacy with God. Do we, as leaders, seek to hear God’s leading in all we do and refuse to move ahead until we hear it? Do we so thirst after God’s wisdom for our leadership that all of our other work is subservient to that pursuit?
The enemy will work hard to shift our focus from God’s guidance to every other possible source of insight and advice. Job endured the long-winded advice from his friends, and we will be surrounded by well meaning people who have a better way for us to go about everything we undertake. Take the battle to the enemy by seeking God’s wisdom with your whole heart. In doing so he will be undone.
Weapon #5: Fellowship
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” (Luke 10:1)
Every branch of the U.S. military operates on the same principle of two-by-two that Jesus used. Every Ranger has a Ranger Buddy, every SEAL has a Swim Buddy, every Aviator has a Wingman, every Soldier has a Foxhole Buddy and every Marine has a Fire Team. The military never sends people into battle by themselves. It is always two-by-two at a minimum.
As leaders we must understand that Jesus intends for it to be the same way with us as we fight in this Great Battle of the Kingdom of Light against the Kingdom of darkness. God never intended us to fight alone.
The weapon of fellowship destroys Satan’s ability to divide and conquer or to get leaders isolated where he then can take them out. But the weapon of fellowship does more than this. Jesus specifically sent His disciples out two-by-two.
There is something cosmic about Jesus’ method. Two-by-two provides protection. It is another set of eyes and ears to watch and be on the alert for the enemy. Two-by-two allows for there to be an opportunity for rest for one soldier while the other keeps watch. This allows for both to stay in the battle. Two-by-two provides a system of accountability, with each one helping the other stay on the narrow road. Two-by-two is a warfare strategy. Every leader needs a “wingman.” Fellowship disarms the enemy and sets us up for victory.
Are you armed with these five weapons of the faithful leader? Do you forgive easily, give generously, live with a clear conscience, seek God’s wisdom and develop allies with whom to serve?
As leaders we are in the spiritual battle of our lives. I encourage you to cultivate these five weapons and put them to use daily.
This blogpost is excerpted from a manuscript of an upcoming book by John Bishop and Scott Rodin tentatively titled, Warriors at Work: The Battle to Reclaim the Five Purposes of Work, proposed publication date of November 2015.