“When you are doing battle for God, you need God on your side.” I am not certain who I heard this from, but I wrote it down in some notes from a convention recently. This may seem catchy, but simplistic. However, it is not always the correct scenario taking place in many ministry settings or in the lives of believers. It is so easy to get sidetracked into thinking we know God and we know what would please God. Therefore, what I want to do, is God’s way. Think about this for a moment.
God said His thoughts and His ways are much higher than you and I can imagine. We, in our finite minds, cannot begin to think like God. Yet, we often try to think for God. In the end, we often try doing things the way we want because it is perceived as easier than what God might want. “It is convenient and safer for me because I know how, and I know the potholes and cautions to avoid. This has to please God.”
God grows each one of us by stretching us. No learning or spiritual growth ever takes place in the comfort zone. Yet, we do not like to be stretched. So, we circumvent God’s ways with something we are more comfortable with.
In the book of Joshua, God is very clear in His instructions to Joshua, leading the Israelite nation. In verse two of the first chapter, God says, “Moses, my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them – to the Israelites.” In the verses following, God goes into more detail of the direction He expects Joshua to lead the nation of Israel.
When you are doing battle for God, you need God on your side. Joshua was about to do battle for God and he intently listened for the directions from God. Joshua was successful in his quest and the battles for God as the rest of the book of Joshua depicts. Joshua had God on his side because he listened intently to God and waited for God’s direction.
A second misplaced fixation I see today is church leaders and other believers who try to justify their thoughts by using scripture. As I work with men (& women) who have teaching and leadership responsibilities, I share with them great words I learned from Pastor Leroy Armstrong, several years ago. My version is, “Never use the Bible to go looking for something to say. Always, let what you say come from the overflow of your study.”
In other words, as a spiritual leader (or as a Christian in general) you should never search scripture to find justification for something you want to do. You should be reading and studying God’s word regularly so that He can prepare you for what you need, when you need it. This is true God-usage of scripture. We should never use God’s word, The Holy Bible, to rationalize or defend what we want to do. This is, in my opinion, about as close to worst case heresy as anything else. Yet, I see and hear people use this quite often – pastors, teachers, spiritual leaders, politicians, and people from many walks of life.
Moses did this a couple of times. One in particular, by striking a rock with his staff to draw water for drinking. God had directed Moses not to strike the rock, but to speak to it and the water would flow. However, Moses wanted drama. He struck the rock with his staff because he apparently wanted (or believed he needed) a visual effect of his leadership. The water did flow, but Moses faced some heavy consequences because of it.You can read of other people in the Bible who faced dire consequences because they acted like Moses.
God will give us clear direction. We do not have to try to justify what we want to make us appear spiritual or God-driven. Looking up scripture to defend your position will keep you from accomplishing what God desires. His ways are much higher than yours. And the joy of life comes in allowing Him to accomplish His directives through means that you would never have dreamed or thought of.
Don’t sidestep God. If you’re going to do battle for God, you need God on your side. Let your words and actions come out of the overflow of your study of God’s word.
For more information on this and other leadership help, contact George Yates and visit SonC.A.R.E. Ministries.