Some years ago while at lunch with an internationally respected theologian we discussed various leadership styles within local churches.My friend made a remark which I will never forget.In essence he said, “Good pastors lead sheep while some poor pastors think their job is to drive cattle!”There are two major problems with the driving pastors.First, and foremost, it is not the Biblical pattern for spiritual leaders.Second, from a practical standpoint, sheep (and humans) respond to good leadership but rebel at being driven.
Recently I had reason to reflect on those remarks again and I realized that these two leadership methodologies are exemplified by the Spirit of God and on the other hand by our adversary, the devil.
The Spirit of God Leads!~The Holy Spirit gently leads in many ways (such as in a “still small voice” as seen in 1 Kings 19:12).
Our Example~“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit intothe wilderness” (Luke 4:1).
Our Responsibility~“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:14-15).“If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18).
Satan Drives!~Satan is a great pretender, he appears to be gently leading but those who follow soon become controlled and driven by endless appetites for more—often leading to an addiction (including in so called “minor” areas).
The Deceiver~Satan approaches as a gentle leader.“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.And no wonder!For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).
Speaking to the Pharisees Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
The Reality~Satan is constantly trying to enslave.“That they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).
The Solution~The Apostle Paul showed the way to deal with the devil’s schemes.Recognize them for what they are, do not succumb to his tactics, and use them for spiritual growth.“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
The Tools~ Fortunately we have been given all we need to overcome.“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
Our Responsibility~Be on guard!“Be sober, be vigilant; becauseyour adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).“Therefore submit to God.Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Our Example~“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
The Future Final Result~“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).
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