How Pastors and Leaders Fight Their Battles
Have you ever sensed you were surrounded with insurmountable challenges? As a pastor and leader, times like these definitely occur. They test us greatly and reveal much about us. In times like these, how should we react and what should we do in order to overcome these challenges?
Learning From One Who Walked Before Us
There is a story in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 that illustrates the attitude we must bring to these kinds of moments. The people of Judah were in the thick of trouble. It looked as if it was going to be total devastation for God’s anointed people. Even Jehoshaphat, the warrior king, was afraid.
He became so fearful that he turned all his attention toward seeking the Lord in his life as he began to pursue God more intently than he’d ever done before. In his terror at the prospect of massive defeat, the prophet proclaimed a fast throughout all of Judah. He asked the people to stop eating until God prevailed in their situation. He understood the spiritual practices of fasting and praying.
Admitting Our Helplessness to God
Jehoshaphat knew that to fast before God was the best way to show his complete helplessness and humility before God. In 2 Chronicles 20:12 he makes this powerful declaration, “Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” He learned something you and I must never forget: he renounced the natural to invoke the supernatural.
He declared, “God, I don’t want food; I want You. You are more important than food.” This was not a popular theme then any more than it is a driving principle in the hearts of large numbers of believers today. Yet, it is right. It is proper. It demonstrates our helplessness before God.
Worldly counsel teaches us that whoever ends up with the most toys wins. We want our cakes, pies, cars, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, toys, recreation, steaks, and mashed potatoes with gobs of gravy more than we are willing to feast on the bountiful riches and promises found in the Word of God. But when we’re desperate, we cannot have it both ways.
Knowing Our Answer is Not Found in Us
Whatever stands in the way or is idolized in our lives has to go and take its rightful place. The truth is this: We are powerless in and of ourselves. The answer is not found in us. And because physical food is not our ultimate source of nourishment, physical food must be seen in its physical perspective.
Like Jehoshaphat, we must be willing to renounce the natural to invoke the supernatural. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for his people so they could once again see the face of God. They sought God and kept their eyes on Him. When they became desperate, they shifted their focus to God and away from their hopeless, degenerate, discouraging, depraved situation. Their choice was not only bold, but resulted in success.
Looking to God Alone
As pastors and leaders, we need to look to God alone. Our success is not in us nor will it ever be found in us. We need to look to God.
When is the last time that you set aside a day, a week, or a season to pursue God through fasting and prayer? Fasting is the abstinence from food with a spiritual goal in mind. It is when we deny ourselves the most natural thing in order to pursue the God of heaven to do something powerful and supernatural in and through our lives. When pastors and leaders engage this age-old biblical principle, we will wake up and experience success that God alone can give us.
God wants to give us hope for the present and confidence in our future. He wants to do something mighty in our lives, and that’s why He provides us with moments of desperation—to push us toward Him. When you are surrounded and the circumstances seem insurmountable, look to God.