We all know church leaders are a big target around the world. What better way to deprive the world of hope that to destroy the lives of leaders in the local church. Every day, we see called men and women of God stepping out of church work, falling to moral failure or taking general spiritual hits from the enemy. The big ones show up on the news, the rest of them show up in our cities and churches and impact the lives of thousands. In every instance of spiritual attack, there is one place where the battle begins: the heart.
If our spiritual enemy can get even a foothold, we give way and render ourselves wide open for a full on attack. Jesus waits for us to trust and call on him, then use our brains to protect our hearts. Protecting our hearts is not something we SHOULD do, it is something we MUST do. There is too much at stake in our relationship with Christ, in our families and in our churches. Here are 5 Ways to Protect the Heart of a Leader.
Protect your heart from discouragement. The other day, I watched a python squeeze a rat. The rat didn’t die instantly, but rather slowly as the air was forced out of it’s little rat lungs. Discouragement is the python of death in ministry, slowly squeezing the life out of you until you breathe no more. Spend a week in ministry and tell me you don’t get discouraged. GETTING discouraged happens and is pretty normal, but STAYING discouraged is a slippery slope that leads to destruction. Discouragement is often tough to recognize, and can go easily unchecked. Get the Scriptures in your head and in your heart and don’t be discouraged.
Decide today: I will not give in to discouragement, no matter what.
Instead: I will take courage, I will seek boldness and I will be encouraged.
Protect your heart from envy or jealousy. The grass is always greener and the other pastor or church never has any problems…until you dig a little deeper. I’ve seen pastors of all types visit LifeChurch.tv and leave thinking, “Man, if I could only have that band or that sound system or that facility, we could really have some impact.” I know it, because people actually say it out loud. The truth is that God has put you WHERE you are with WHAT you have for WHO he has called you to lead and serve.
Decide today: I will not be jealous in ANY way, no matter what.
Instead: I will thank God for who and what he has provided!
Protect your heart from pride. Pride is the ugly monster that sleeps for years and then jumps up and tears apart a church in a month. Pride dodges real accountability. Pride makes excuses. Pride thinks, “That would never be me.” Pride comes before the fall and is found in every type of sin. Don’t be filled with pride. Seek humility and seek humility until you find it. Then seek it more.
Decide today: I will not give into pride, no matter what.
Instead: I will choose to humble myself like Christ every day.
Protect your heart from being divisive. Relationships on teams can get rough at times. We must learn to go for unity on our teams. It starts with our closest team members and branches out from there. If we can’t find unity among a few, we will never achieve it in our church and in our cities. This doesn’t mean we can’t give feedback and disagree. It does mean we do so in a spirit of love, honor and honesty.
Decide today: I will not be divisive with my team and in my church, no matter what.
Instead: I will fight for unity, even if it means giving up my wants and desires.
Protect your heart as a father, mother, husband or wife. No success at church is worth failure at home. No church is too important for a leader to lose their family. God has called us to lead our families first. I would argue that leading our families are our greatest calling in life, before the success of the church. If we can’t be trusted with the few he has given, how or why should he entrust us with more? Don’t make excuses. Set healthy boundaries. Make your family a priority.
Decide today: I will not place my ministry as a priority over my family.
Instead: I will honor God by honor those closest to me and leading them well.
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