The Danger Of Great Gifts

I recently posted this

“We are more vulnerable to an attack (and a temporary defeat) after a victory than after a defeat. Why is that? Because victory tends to make us self-satisfied, but defeat tends to make us God-dependent.”

The same is true with our God-given gifts. In his book on spiritual warfare, William Gurnall identifies great giftings in an individual’s life as a vulnerable place for an attack:

“Great gifts lift a saint up a little higher in the eyes of men, but they also tempt him to pride. Do not envy those with great gifts; instead, pity and pray for them. It is hard for them to escape the error of supposing that God’s grace in them is their own doing. … 

“Had God given you gifts merely for your own pleasure or edification, the sin of pride would not be quite so bad. But when you use your gifts to lift yourself up, you tear down the Body of Christ. Your gifts are necessary to the health of the whole Body, but they must be administered properly.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor (emphasis mine)

Tuning Out Enemies

“…they thought to do me harm”Nehemiah

Nehemiah had enemies on almost every side as he attempted to complete his work (the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem). Check out his enemies’ strategy and his response to them—

Enemy’s tactic #1—Get Nehemiah preoccupied with attending meaningless meetings.

Nehemiah’s response—“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

Enemy’s tactic #2—Send out letters slandering Nehemiah.

Nehemiah’s response—“There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” Then he prayed, “God, give me strength.”

Enemy’s tactic #3—Try to scare Nehemiah into running away.

Nehemiah’s response—“Should someone in my position run from danger? I know that God wouldn’t like that.”

Nehemiah had a vision from God and he stayed focused on that.

  • It determined his priority
  • It set his daily agenda
  • It gave him discernment
  • It gave him courage

The result: “When all our enemies heard [that we had completed our project]…they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.”

A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.

This is Part 7 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

Specificity

Sometimes only a big word will do. Specificity means something particularly fitted to a use or purpose. In pharmacology terms it is a remedy intended for a particular ailment or disorder, or the selective influence of one substance on another. In other words, the medicine is targeted for a selected pain or disease.

Yesterday at Calvary Assembly of God we heard a powerful word from our guest speaker Jeff Hlavin. But one thought from Jeff has been particularly working on me. He said, “The enemy fires his darts at your most vulnerable places.” In other words, the enemy is specific in his targeting.

My defense against the attack of the enemy is prayer. But my best defense is prayer with specificity.

Perhaps something like this:

  • In praying for Bethany, I’m not just praying for healing from cancer, but healing from neuroblastoma.
  • In praying for Brody who has Pierre Robin Syndrome, I’m praying with specificity for his lower jaw to continue to grow to its proper size. And in the meantime, that he will not experience any problems with choking.
  • In praying for friends whose marriage is in trouble, I’m praying specifically for healing from past mistakes, for open lines of communication, and for a willingness to seek out professional counseling.
  • In praying for a young man who is in a soul-searching time, I’m targeting my prayers at the low self-esteem issues he’s battling.

Let’s not just pray; let’s pray with specificity. The enemy is targeting his attacks deliberately, so let’s pray just as deliberately.

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