Submitted by Jay McCumber, Executive Director, TTWM
Leadership and Spiritual Warfare
“…that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:10
One of the temptations of Kingdom leadership is to lose focus of what is real and what is illusory. Many Christian leaders give into the call of people they lead to “make it practical for me”. It’s not that I have an issue with the practice (the root work of practical) of holiness, righteousness, justice or any other godly virtue to which the heart of God directs us. It’s that when people ask for how to make something “practical”, they are usually asking the leader for a moral quick fix to how they can live better so that God will be pleased with them.
“Stop with the theology and/or spirituality and tell me how God wants me to live my day-to-day life!” This is a snare in which many Kingdom leaders get caught, especially local church pastors.
According to this verse from Paul, the purpose of the Church is to declare the manifold wisdom of God. The Greek word for manifold in this verse is in reference to a shimmering, finely and intricately woven tapestry, a treasured garment to be worn by the wealthy. This is the wisdom of God. His thoughts and ways are beautiful strands of Himself, sewn together to shimmer and gleam the beauty of God in this world. The Church exists so that this diverse singularity of wisdom from our One Triune God is declared.
But to whom?
The attractional model of the Church says that we reveal and declare the wisdom of God to the lost.
The missional model of the Church says that we reveal and declare the wisdom of God to the people of God.
The Pauline model of the Church says that we reveal and declare the wisdom of God “to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
Hmmmm…that’s not a model of the Church that we western Christians are used to engaging.
When the Church lives as the Church, revealing and declaring the beautiful, shimmering wisdom of God, we are conducting spiritual warfare. The wisdom of God is so much more than the moralistic constructs and choices that so many western Christians want. They think that God is into behavior modification, when in reality, God is into heart transformation through the wisdom of God revealed and declare through His Church.
As a Kingdom leader, intentionally live with the perspective that the power of the Gospel and the purpose of the Church is aligning and transforming things in heavenly places, where our true wrestle is. A wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against these same spiritual forces Paul speaks of here in Ephesians 3:10.
For the Christian leader, to get practical means we get spiritual, because everything is spiritual. After all, “the earth is the Lord’s in all its fullness.”