I have been addressing the subject of leadership in regard to keeping our hearts. Jesus said that from the heart would flow rivers of life-giving water. This is to be a testimony for all who believe in Him, but leaders must set an example that others can follow. The key to the issues of life is found in the human heart; therefore the enemy targets our hearts in order to keep them from giving life to those we influence in life. What does the enemy look like? We know he is the devil, but what form does he take in his attack upon our hearts. A Leader must know how to guard their hearts. I believe that there are four basic areas of attack upon the human heart. Those forms are ones of affliction, captivity, harassment, and defilement. Affliction can be manifested as physical pain, emotional pain, or some form of sickness in our lives. This can even include a disheartened soul. Captivity is revealed as some form of bondage. It can include the things that held us in the world before we came to Christ and it can involve anything that prevents us from moving forward in our journey of life. Harassment is some form of assault upon our lives. It is demonically inspired, but it can come in the form of people who seek to put us in a difficult place in our lives. Defilement is some form of bitterness, poison, spot, blemish, or wrinkle in our souls. The enemy seeks to establish strongholds in our lives through the assault of his weapons of affliction, captivity, harassment, or defilement. As leaders we must know how to deal with those strongholds of the enemy before they become lodged in our lives and prevent us from having free-flowing hearts that give life to those around us.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
We have weapons in Christ. It is the weapons of Christ within us that will cast down the strongholds of the enemies attack upon our hearts. The source of our thoughts cannot be the realm of our wounded souls; it must be in the place of a prosperous spirit made alive by God’s Holy Spirit within us. Our obedience is to the faith, not mere rules of Christianity. Religious thinking and religious ways are not the weapons of victory over the enemy. Faith is a fruit of hearing God in our hearts and it inspires the actions of our lives. It works through love and it is always towards the person God. It is not towards what He will do, but towards who He is and thus it inspires trust that God can do all things.
What do God’s weapons look like in our lives? God’s weapons are foolish to the natural man. Our natural man is not our carnal sinful man, it is simply the part of us that perceives and understands things naturally. We have to receive the weapons of God in our hearts in order to embrace a supernatural power of God’s life that goes beyond our natural understanding.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.
God’s Spirit gives the things of Him to us within our hearts. They are things that our eyes have not seen, our ears have not heard, and our thoughts have not thought before. Those things are only revealed to us through our spirits. When our spirits come alive with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit it floods our soul with desires, thoughts, strategies, imaginations, and emotions that will give us the victory over affliction, captivity, harassment, or defilement of any kind. What can we do to activate the weapons of God that are mighty to pull down any stronghold of the enemy? I believe that Psalms 149 gives us a great key.
Psalms 149:1 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints. 2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. 3 Let them praise His name with the dance; let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.
Leaders must set an example in releasing the weapons of life. Singing a new song is simply living in the NOW moment of God. We must know that God is always working things together for our good. Not all things are good, but God is working all things out. Every moment of every day is another opportunity for God to reveal His goodness and His love. We must stay connected to Him and to others within our sphere of relationships in life. His praise in only truly found in our connection together. In order to be joyful in our King we must focus on His presence in our lives. In the presence of God is the fullness of joy (Ps. 16:11). This means that our first weapon of victory is to remain in the place of our first love with God. We must say to the One who says, “I Am” – “Here I am!”
What does it mean to praise God with the dance, song, timbrels, and the harp? God doesn’t want us to embrace some religious form of worship ritual. He wants us to embrace a way of life that includes our walk, our sound, our attitude, and our ability to be led by Him in all things. What do others see, hear, and experience when they are around us? How are they influencing them? Can they trust us and follow us even in difficult times? These are the attributes of a heart that knows that God is good and loves Him.
Psalms 149: 4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, 7 To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; 8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 to execute on them the written judgment—This honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD!
We must know that God really likes us. He takes pleasure in us and we don’t need to earn His love through some lifestyle of religious homage. We must be joyful in finding life in Him and finding life in every way. This is even true in our sleeping moments. This is not just when we go to bed at night, but also when things are beyond our ability to change. We must know that we can trust Him because He cares for us. As leaders we must set this example for others to follow.
What about the high praises of God? The high praises of God are not some practiced form of music before God. They are the testimonies of God at work in our lives. Everyone has the honor of allowing God to be revealed in and through their lives. As we pay attention to what God is doing we execute the written judgments of God’s love in our lives. His mercy and grace proves to deal a blow that eliminates the enemy’s accusations and attacks in our lives. This Psalm is not talking about a carnal weapon of death. This is a weapon of life that binds the attacks of the enemy in chains. It is a testimony of the two-edged sword of God’s love for us that inspires us to love others. It is the source of demonstrating a love for Him and for others in our lives. Jesus will never put upon us anything that He took off of us at the cross, thus the victory given over the enemy by the shed blood of Jesus is activated by the power of God’s manifest grace at work in our lives. The kingdom of God is within us and it is the source of victory over all of our enemies. As leaders we must know how to live from our hearts in a life-expectant and a life-giving way in all things.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson