Obstacles in Becoming More Purposeful
Spiritual & Fleshly Resistance
In seeking to be more purposeful you are bound to face some obstacles. Resistance will come from two realms:
Resistance in the Fleshly Realm:
The spectrum of reactions to change will vary, falling somewhere within the following range:
These are the people who have thought through and accept the change. They take ownership of the vision and purposes. They know the joy of "being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." They look out not only for their "own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Phil. 2:1-4)
These are the people who have put little thought into it but readily accept the change. They accept it perhaps because:
These are the people who think a lot about the change and, in their thinking, all they see are red flags. They are filled with questions and doubts. They feel quite insecure about change and must have all their concerns answered satisfactorily before they are willing to accept the change.
These are the people who do not have to think much about it because they know, in their minds, that it is wrong. They either want things to stay the same or they want things done their way and so harden their hearts to any change.
Resistance may come from any of these positions but the type of obstacles they present will vary greatly.
True Acceptance: You may encounter legitimate concerns from these people as they think through and pray about the change. Welcome this kind of resistance and learn from them. Their resistance will not be antagonistic but rather from genuine concern. Those who have truly accepted the change will be cooperative and demonstrate lasting commitment.
Passive Acceptance: You will encounter no resistance at all from these people. You will be tempted to wish more people were like them. The shallow process with which they accepted the change, however, will in time characterize their level of commitment unless at some point they move into true acceptance. They may start big but will undoubtedly fizzle out because they lacked ownership of the vision and purposes. As their commitment wanes you will find yourself scrambling to fill in the gaps they leave.
Skepticism: These people may raise a lot of resistance. Some concerns will be legitimate but some will be petty and unfounded. Decipher the good from the bad in what they say. They can help bring balance by causing you to think through the issues better. Don't give up on these people or get discouraged by them. Take them seriously and let them realize their importance. Once their concerns are addressed they may well move into true acceptance. At that point you will have people who are sold out to the vision and purposes.
Outright Rejection: You will receive massive resistance from these people. They may ultimately jump ship if you keep on course and will often leave a path of destruction and possibly division behind them if not brought into check early on in the process. You will find it next to impossible to change their minds. About all you can do is love them and pray for them. And, love them you must. At the same time, you cannot allow belligerent disregard to continue. You must establish godly procedures for people to express their grievances and hold to those standards. Do not, however, wait for trouble to begin to put safeguards into place. The key is to prevent resistance from becoming an insurmountable obstacle.
Resistance in the Spiritual Realm:
As you pursue the purposes of God you place yourself in opposition to the work of the enemy. He will scheme to divert your focus. He will set traps and tempt you to fall into them. Satan will be a forceful resistance but he does not have to win if we become aware of his schemes, alert to his traps, and attentive to God.
Be Aware of Satan's schemes:
. . . in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Cor. 2:11)
- getting us to fight the wrong battle ... each other rather than the spiritual -- See Ephesians 6:12.
- getting us to set our minds on man's interests, not God's -- See Matthew 16:21-23.
- getting us to slack off in holding our leaders accountable and choosing them wisely -- See 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
- getting us distracted by other things like busy work and one crisis situation after another that we get deterred in our devotion to God and His ways -- See 2 Corinthians 11:3.
Be Alert to Satan's traps:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8)
- conflict trap - How often comments are heard that it was the way problems were handled that brought a church down and not the problems themselves. -- See Ephesians 4:25-27; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11.
- justification trap - How tragic when we feel the end justifies the means. Cover-ups and manipulation attack the integrity of leaders and the program they promote. -- See 1 John 3:7-8; John 8:44.
- pride trap - How easy it is to take credit due God. The focus then shifts off of God and His purposes and onto us and our plans. We lose sight of the fact that only by His grace were we able to do what we did. -- See Luke 10:17-20; Proverbs 16:18.
- impatience trap - How far we can run ahead of God when we feel the process is taking too long. Failure to bring our zeal under God's control may steer us into some of the other traps of the enemy and off target. -- See Proverbs 19:2.
- complication trap - How quickly we can encumber God's purposes with traditions, legalism, and inconsequential issues. We lose the simplicity of pure devotion to Him. -- See 2 Corinthians 11:3.
- counterfeit trap - How alluring to offer something that has an illusion of being real but lacks substance. These are often the short cuts we take or the misinformed directions we embark on because they were the easier, more comfortable, and less inconvenient routes. -- See 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Conflict creates distrust. Justification leads to disrespect. Pride engenders disdain. Impatience results in discouragement. Complication yields disillusionment. Counterfeits pave the way for distractions. God's purposes will not flourish in this kind of environment.
Be Attentive to God:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8a)
- Pull on God's strength in order to stand firm. -- See Ephesians 6:10.
- Put on the armor of God using His resources to stand against the devil's schemes. -- See Ephesians 6:11-17.
- Position yourself in dependence on Him through prayer. -- See Ephesians 6:18.
- Persist, by His divine power, in a disciplined lifestyle. -- See 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
After reading through the church purpose content on this site, please click below to visit our Train Church Leaders Site for help in breaking through barriers to an active pursuit of the church's purpose: