3 Tactics the Enemy Uses to Keep Leaders From Completing Their Task
Lessons from Nehemiah 6:1-14
(Please read the Scripture reference below before reading the article.)
by Steve Broughton
1. Sometimes distractions are in place to harm you enough to keep you from leading your people to complete the mission.
Time is a precious commodity. So precious that once it is spent it can’t be bought back. Our time is highly valuable. Some leaders have found their purpose in life and have focused on completing an important task at hand. Typically when this is done a myriad of time wasting distractions present themselves. Some will appear to be of the utmost importance. A loud voice will attempt to keep you from completing your work by demanding your time and attention.
Response: Don’t engage by leaving your post.
i. Identify the source of the distraction.
ii. Discern its’ importance.
iii. If it is a direct part of your mission in life then deal with it swiftly otherwise communicate and let it be.
2. There are times when a leader’s character will be questioned through lies and innuendo.
This is an elevation of the intensity of the distraction. The hope is to manipulate your emotions in order to move you to engage with the distraction in order to defend your honor. The desired outcome is to call you away from your task by working you into a “justifiable” response.
Response: Don’t let emotions rule your responses.
i. Identify the tactic and let the enemy know that you will not react to the lie.
ii. Clarify the truth.
iii. Move on.
3. When the enemy shows up inside your walls.
The most advanced enemy knows your motivation, your why. The final tactic uses their proximity to you and their familiarity with you in order to defeat you. We tend to listen to the voices of those near us. Most of the time, this is good. However, people have their own motivating factors and we must be discerning at all times. Not suspicious, but discerning. Listen for things that don’t add up. Coercion generally leads us to either embrace extreme comfort or reactive fear. In some cases as what we find in Nehemiah’s story, both.
Response: Don’t run haphazardly to your place of safety.
i. There will be a hint of a lie that will reveal their intentions.
ii. The enemy can only take the ground that we willfully give.
iii. Again, counter the lie with the truth and don’t run in fear.
iv. Reveal the actions and manipulation of the true enemy.
v. Stay on task and leave it to God.
It is not uncommon to immediately face conflict when you are near the completion of a life goal or major task. The enemy understands that their best option is always to manipulate us with our anger and fear. Just as Nehemiah stayed the course and dealt swiftly with the enemies tactics we need to as well. Keep your eye on the goal. Lead in such a way as to protect those who are dutifully carrying out their mission as well. Don’t trade the completion of your purpose for a fleeting emotional response.
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Nehemiah 6 (ESV)
6 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. 3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. 5 In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. 6 In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. 7 And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.”8 Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
10 Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” 11 But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.