Leadership#5. “You had better see them coming!”

Leadership#5. “You had better see them coming!”

I met a man who returned to his home church after being away for a few years. He told the preacher that God had sent him to help him with the work of the Lord. The preacher took him at his word and good works were achieved. Tragically, it didn’t last. The preacher found out the very hard way that the brother was returning to his troublesome ways. He and another brother proceeded to slander the preacher and decimate the congregation. If the preacher had his time again, he would have confronted his fake prodigal with Jesus’ words to Peter: “Get behind me Satan.”

Every Sunday the devil goes to church. He can just as easily catch a ride with the saint as with the sinner.

Leaders are expected to “test the spirits.” (1Jn.4:1) Given that Satan is working to always tempt everyone, it is fatal to treat it as a ‘call me if it happens’ job. The damage that Satan delivers on Sunday is usually manufactured during the week. More leaders would be driven to their knees if they knew the willingness of Satan’s workers to put in so much overtime.

We do not want to feel as if we are always welcoming people into the fellowship with reservations. However, those who have the safety of the flock in their hands must be vigilant to keep it safe. Yet, keeping them safe from hirelings, false teachers, thugs, thieves, and any other sort of troublemaker, takes the insight of discernment.

Those godly brethren famous for their ‘gut feelings’ did not receive their ‘gift of discernment as a miraculous endowment. It was a skill learned the hard way. Dealing with troublemakers drove them to prayer, study and godly counsel. Heartache for the damage inflicted upon the church forced them to recognise the differences between the genuine and the fly-by-nighter.

Most leaders quit or stand aside after doing battle with Satan’s insidious destroyers. But those who have learned to discern go on in the wisdom and strength of the Lord. Do they come out unscathed? No! Instead, they will carry their scars of victory to glory.

If you want to be a leader who protects the brethren from the evildoer: “You had better see them coming!”

John Staiger

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