Spiritual leadership is no walk in the park. It was never intended to be. It is a battle.
When Paul wrote to Timothy to instruct him in church leadership, he admonished:
Fight the good fight of faith…—1 Timothy 6:12
We are in a war, and you and I are the soldiers.
I’ve noticed, however, that among our ranks there are five distinct mentalities that we carry into battle:
1. Some Have a Bunker Mentality
They’re in the battle, yes. But they’re basically hunkered down waiting for the end.
These are the ones who say, “Let’s just hold on ‘til Jesus comes!”
They take great comfort in God’s promises, but they largely ignore His commission.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.— Matthew 28:18–20
2. Some Have a Protester Mentality
These guys have ignored Christ’s commission and have assigned themselves the mission of protest. Basically, they are against the way everyone else battles.
They’re not reaching people with the gospel, and they don’t like the way you do it either. I guess they forgot that Christ commissioned us as soldiers.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.—2 Timothy 2:4
3. Some Have a Complaining Mentality
They neglect their own responsibilities to complain about other soldiers who are too nice, too mean, or too something else.
Frankly, they don’t like battle and would rather focus on the processes or personnel then to personally engage in the war.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.—2 Timothy 2:3
4. Some Have a Superior Mentality
These soldiers have promoted themselves to the rank of Captain and see it as their mission to correct and instruct other soldiers.
There is a godly, biblical sense in which we should honor soldiers of the faith who have gone before and fought a good fight. We should also express appreciation to fellow soldiers still living who challenge our faith and stand for Christ.
But really we are all just foot soldiers. It is not for us to constantly critique one another. We all answer to Christ.
Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.—Romans 14:4
5. Some Have the Mentality of a Liberating Soldier
Like the soldiers who storm into occupied territory to free hostages, these men have one mission—to liberate captives. This mission consumes their mind and their focus.
This is the mentality we who are soldiers of the cross are to hold. Christ has called us to proclaim the gospel so those who have been held captive by Satan may be free in Christ.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,— Luke 4:18
This is our mission, and Satan will do anything he can to keep us off point. He’ll remind us of the impossibilities in front of us so we hunker down. He’ll turn our attention to those fighting poorly so we protest the war. He’ll show us the difficulties of life so we complain. Or he’ll fill us with pride so we fight one another.
But we have one mission—preach the gospel to liberate the captives.
May we serve as good soldiers of Jesus Christ so that at the end of our lives we may say:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:—2 Timothy 4:7