David grieved the death of King Saul and his son, Jonathan, in battle. He lamented, “How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!” 2 Samuel 1:27,(NIV). David was a leader and he was passionate about the well-fare of other leaders. How do you feel when you hear that a leader falls?
Leadership is warfare. It is a truth that cannot be repeated too often. Many people are ignorant of this and that is why we have many casualties in leadership today. While some leaders are falling, you and I must not be in the number. May the fallen ones rise again!
Many people consider leadership position as an opportunity to enjoy and rule over people. But leadership in God’s kingdom is different. The people of Israel knew that very well. When they asked for a king, their expected qualities of such a candidate were that of a warrior. The Bible says, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” 1 Samuel 8:19-20, (KJV).
That was not peculiar to the Old Testament alone. In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it” Matthew 11:12, (NIV). This implies that leadership is warfare till today. If you are a Christian, you have leadership mandate over your life and you must learn to fight wars.
There are two types of wars leaders must fight. They are: the war within and the war without. The war without is the struggles you have with the external forces such as men and the evil spirits. The war within is the internal struggles you have inside your heart. It is the most dangerous war. A leader who has victory within will have victory without. But a leader who is defeated within will not be able to stand the enemies without. So, the war every leader ought to strive to win first is the war within.
The War Within
The strongest war takes place within; it happens at the realm beyond human observations. It happens silently and secretly. Apostle Paul says, “For we wrestle…” The wrestling starts where life flows from: it starts in the heart. This is why the Bible says, “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts” Proverbs 4:23, (MSG).
The war within started with Adam when he ate the forbidden fruit. God created him to provide leadership on earth. He however lost his place to the devil. The devil fought with him at the heart realm and Adam was defeated. On the day he disobeyed God, the devil captured his heart and he was defeated. So, all of us were born defeated.
One day, the Jewish leaders declared the disciples of Jesus defiled because they ate without washing their hands ceremonially. In reaction, Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” Matthew 15:19-20, (NIV).
Note that the word 'defile' means to make unclean, corrupt or unfit. It comes from the French word defouler, which means to trample under feet. This is a picture of total defeat. It really means to become defeated within. A man who is said to be defiled is defeated and useless for God’s purpose.
God banished Adam from the garden because he was defeated within. It doesn’t matter if people are still admiring a defiled leader. God will not commit to him or her the treasures of heaven. He/she cannot be a blessing to people; is shut out, making motion without movement. For instance, God had rejected Saul as king but he remained on the throne for forty years.
Check your heart. Bitterness towards a colleague, hatred towards another person, lustful thoughts towards the person of the opposite sex – all these are indications of a defiled heart. Churches, homes and the society suffer today because of this inner defeat. Let us first seek to be fit in the inner life before aspiring to occupy big positions!
Jesus talked about His victory within when He said, “I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me” John 14:30, (NIV). Jesus remained undefiled, undefeated till the end. He became the Master of life and the Leader of leaders. And the reason He came into the world is to make provision for our victory too.
Winning the War Within
The hottest war rages within. Both good and bad affections do contest for the control of your heart, and the outcome of this struggle determines your leadership destiny here and hereafter. Bad affection defeats a man; godly affection makes a leader fit for God’s service.
I have this good news for you: God has made provision for your victory through Jesus Christ. This provision is called salvation. Salvation simply means deliverance, and it is only found by putting your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. It is deliverance from the moral and spiritual corruption that is within the heart and the conversion of natural life into eternal life. Salvation is a comprehensive gift of God, containing purity, holiness, prosperity, power, righteousness, etc.
Everyone who has received the gift of salvation already has the capacity to enjoy victory within. Meanwhile, this capacity can be maximized through knowledge, the knowledge of the truth about Jesus and all He did for us. In order for the Colossian Christians to experience this inner victory, brother Paul instructed them thus: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” Colossians 3:1-4, (NIV).
The key to winning the war within is by setting your mind on the things above, the truth that is from above - the things Jesus did. Note that every leader who failed did so because they set their minds on earthly things. For instance, Adam and Eve failed in the beginning because they set their minds on what the devil told them. King David failed because he set his mind on a woman who was bathing; Samson failed because he set his mind on strange girls.
Securing victory in the inner life requires sincerity to yourself. You must be frank with yourself. No one knows what goes on within your mind from time to time. And no one can fight the war within for you. Unless you ask for help, everybody around you may think all is well with your life. The war within is most dangerous because it happens silently and secretly and it happens always, as long as the mind is thinking.
Therefore, you must consciously set your mind. The mind or heart is very versatile and fragile. Like a faulty wall clock, it can easily lose its grip on what is right. So you have the personal responsibility of setting it right from time to time. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap” Luke 21:34, (NIV). Let me show you what you ought to do to set your mind right towards securing inner victory.
Renew your mind. Brother Paul instructed the Roman Christians to renew their minds because it is the major key to winning (Romans 12:1-2). The first step in renewing your mind is paying attention to your mind, being conscious of what is going on from time to time. The writer of Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23, (NIV).
Wash it by the living water. The only thing that has power to wash the mind or heart is the word of God. It is the only thing God usually recommends to every man who seeks to serve Him. Anyone who ignores the word of God in his life will have his inner life destroyed and his leadership destiny ruined.
By the time Joshua entered into leadership fully, God said, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” Joshua 1:8, (NIV). This is important for Joshua because the word of God will give him the right orientation and keep him fit before God.
Jesus revealed the efficacy of the word of God after He had instructed them on leadership. He said, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” John 15:3, (NIV). A cleansed leader is a winning leader. The word of God has the potency to cleanse your inner life; it has the power to purify your heart from all corruption and pervasions of life. The war leaders must win is the war within. Wake up. Fight in the strength of the Lord. Victory is sure!
Segun Akande is a leadership coach. He believes that whether things are good or bad, leadership is the way forward. You can reach him on +234 8034490208, email@example.com