You have just ministered through song at a service and you feel that the congregation connected with God; the Holy Spirit moved with visible signs of healing, conviction and ministration. Suddenly you come under a cloud of unwarranted attack in the form of disease, depression, a strong temptation to sin, accidents and relationship trouble- just to name a few. You may even rationalize these as ordinary, but they are not.
1st Kings 18:16-40 records a showdown of biblical proportions. The stage is set, with a multitude of prophets- 850 to be exact, kingdom citizens, a king, bulls and sacrificial paraphernalia. There is taunting from one fearless opposer with words such as maybe your god is asleep or travelling. After hours of ineffectual prayer and self-inflicted wounds from his opponents, in comes Elijah with the backing of heaven to truly convince the people of Israel once and for all that the God of their fathers is present, at work and demands their full allegiance!
Fast forward to a fearful, discouraged and suicidal Elijah, wandering in the desert of Horeb after such a great victory. Elijah’s feelings of foreboding were not unjustified; Jezebel, who is infamous for her acts of injustice, murder and wickedness had issued a death warrant against his life.
This story many times is re-enacted in the lives of dedicated ministers of God. It is prudent to be aware of the schemes of Satan after overwhelming victory. The ministry of song leading can be a powerful tool in bringing down strongholds in the lives of believers. With this in mind, worship leaders must not be ignorant of the power God releases when the church comes together to declare through song, the greatness of God. And this is what Satan continues to fight. If he cannot destroy the whole body of Christ, he will try to destroy key leaders, resulting in disillusionment and discouragement. So, how can a worship leader guard against counter-attacks? Here are a few suggestions.
- Enlist praying believers to cover you
The need for community cannot be overstated in the life of a believer (Ephesians 4:4-6). Despite your calling, it is critical to have a group of people with whom you pray with and in turn consistently pray for you. I believe that it is God’s M.O to give you a valiant community of believer’s whose hearts he has touched concerning your life (1st Samuel 10:26). These men and women will go with you into the darkest of nights and rejoice with you in times of joy.
- Soak in times of worship and prayer
After moments of victory, it is important to rest in the presence of God in order to renew your strength (Isaiah 40:30-31). Avoid burnout by slowing down the pace in solitude, scripture, prayer and worship. After all, God calls us to primarily be, not to do. This means that our ministry should flow out of our being with the Lord. The enemy attacks us in times of vulnerability and tiredness. We need to be alert in our spirits. In these times of prayer, the Lord is able to minister strength to you, making you a more effective minister of the gospel.
A portion of scripture that is frequently quoted is 1st Samuel 15:22- obedience is better than sacrifice. As a worship leader, strive to obey the instructions God gives you. We will make many mistakes along the journey of obedience, but our focus should be on Jesus, who obeyed perfectly. We can learn from Him, what it means to obey the Father, not only in the life altering decisions, but even in the small decisions of mundane life.
- Declare the word
One of the mighty tools we have against every onslaught of evil is scripture. Once, a friend of mine who happens to be a worship leader at their church was involved in a near fatal road accident. While the car rolled for what seemed like eons, the Holy Spirit quickened her to declare aloud that she would not die, but live to declare the works of God. The occupants in that car came out unscathed despite the fact that the car was totaled. Our words have the power to bring life into hopeless situations. In times of attack, read scripture aloud declaring that the onslaught against your life shall not prevail.
- Live a life of purity
Sin and its ensuing consequences can destroy the life of a believer (Romans 6:23). In addition, when a believer is living in sin, this is a mighty foothold for Satan to attack and destroy credibility resulting in a powerless ministry. It is true, that the gifts of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29), meaning that once God anoints you, you can still operate in this gift despite past poor choices. However, let us strive to flee from all appearances of evil (1st Thessalonians 5:22). On your own, this may sound like a tall order, but we have the greatest power in the inside of us, one that is at the disposal of every believer through the Holy Spirit who empowers us from within to say no to sin (Titus 2:11-12).
Every leader has blind-spots- areas of weakness that are usually not known to ourselves. Having a group of loving individuals who we are accountable to, helps in the maturing process. One practice I have found to be helpful in this is allowing a few of my trusted friends the permission to express their concerns over anything in my life that could be detrimental to my relationships and ministry. Of course, if done in a respectful way, growth occurs. Accountability is important because Satan attacks us in the areas of our greatest weakness. For some, it could be their tongue, past sexual sin etc. If we are open with others about our struggle, sin is brought into the light of God’s love and dealt with (James 5:16).
If we are honest with ourselves, we are mostly prone to temptation when we are bored. Being human means that we need outlets for creativity and fun. Our Father God created us all with the desire to play and enjoy life. It is not ungodly to enjoy what God has created. These moments rejuvenate and allow us to appreciate life and relationships.