As leaders, we want to be directed by the Lord and not distracted by the enemy. But when the pressure’s on, it can be hard to tell the difference. Let’s learn how.
Recently, I became increasingly uneasy regarding two different ministry situations. Initially, I wasn’t sure if the enemy was just piling on, wanting to add to the typical stress. But in both instances, as I spent time with the Lord, He revealed the reason behind my unrest.
In one situation, He put His finger on a shared grief that individuals coming to a ministry event were carrying. He led a few of us to engage in intercessory prayer, and He lifted the spirit of heaviness for the entire evening.
In the other instance, He raised a concern in my spirit about a “final” decision we had made. As we engaged in more prayer and discussion, He rounded out that decision with a missing and essential component.
So how do you discern the source of your uneasiness?
Is it the Pizza You Ate Last Night, the Enemy, or the Holy Spirit?
- Don’t brush it off. When you’re sensing something’s off, it can be tempting to ignore it and get on with your many responsibilities. But you want to know if it’s the enemy, so you can counter his lies with truth. And you want to know if it’s the Lord, so you can respond to His leading.
- Ask Him. The only way to know the root of the negative feeling is to talk to your Father. This means taking time in the midst of an overly busy day to be with Him and listen. Take a walk outside if you need to—whatever it takes to get alone and quiet your spirit.
- Talk with an associate. In addition to talking to God, if it’s appropriate, talk with a close associate. Where two or three are gathered, God is in the midst. Welcome the insights and prayer of trusted ministry comrades.
- Follow through. As God reveals His heart, take the action He directs you to. Put forth the extra effort, call for the impromptu meeting, do whatever it takes to obey God’s prompting.
God directs leaders through His Word, His Spirit, prayer, confirmations from others, a sense of peace, and sometimes a sense of non-peace. Non-peace is a negative feeling and can inadvertently be chalked up to the enemy. But a discerning leader takes the time to distinguish the enemy’s distractions from the Lord’s direction, and follows His instruction.
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them (Acts 16:6-7, ESV).