You go to school to gain knowledge. After a period of study, you apply the knowledge in a domain in life to serve people, your community or country. It’s ridiculous to gain knowledge and not make use of it.


The spiritual world is not different. When you study the Bible, you grow in faith based on what you study (Romans 10:17). James says, ‘‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves’’ (James 1:22, NKJV). So we’re all required to apply the knowledge we’ve gained to serve God and people. False prophets and teachers can take advantage of those who don’t understand how spiritual matters work. Below are two ways to avoid spiritual exploitation:


Leaders, Train Your Flock And Give Them Responsibility


When Jesus called His disciples into ministry, they became His trainees. His aim was not to have them stay by His side a lifetime. His primary aim and desire were that they assimilate the lessons He taught, grow to spiritual maturity and execute specific functions in the Great Commission Mission Project. Jesus wasn’t interested in creating a mass crowd of believers who listen to the Word of God but have no works in the field. He told them, ‘‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’’ (Matthew 9:37, NKJV).


Those who spend all their time in church, studying the Bible, praying and making beautiful spiritual speeches without going out in the battlefield have little impact. Jesus was interested in moulding an army of spiritual soldiers through on-the-job training. These would go to the war front and change lives. That’s what an effective leader does. He’s interested in seeing his followers embrace the teachings of the Bible and apply them in areas where God called them.


‘‘Spiritual leadership is serving others and helping them grow to spiritual maturity so that they become reproductive Christians… If we drive people, we will drive them until they can get out of our way. If we lead people, we will be able to lead them as far as we have gone ourselves. If we serve people, we will help each person develop their full God-given potential and equip each person for the ministry that Christ has prepared for every Christian’’ (Duane L. Anderson, 2003).


Few leaders in the Body of Christ follow Jesus’ example of leadership? Many want to build the biggest physical church with the highest number of members. Instead of helping the followers grow in their relationship with God, these leaders promote their church and brand. Members of such movements rarely grow to spiritual maturity. Their leaders don’t give them appropriate responsibility. The leader and the church brand are the point of focus, not Jesus and the Great Commission. So the leaders manipulate the flock to adhere to the ministry’s ideologies.


Leaders seduce their members to buy the books he or she wrote. Some of these structure have unique discipleship training materials developed by the core team, polished to promote the brand. So members have little means to listen to the Holy Spirit themselves. Human traditions, rules and regulations their leaders impose on them prevent proper spiritual exploits. God isn’t using many in such settings to advance His kingdom.


If you find yourself in such settings and feel an urge to be used By God to accomplish something your system doesn’t permit, start praying for guidance from God. There’re two options: either God will use you to change things for the best in your current organizational setting or He will take you to a place where you will explore and serve Him in Spirit and Truth. The solution depends on your reliance on the Lord for guidance. This type of guidance can only come from spending time with God in Bible Study and Prayer. This leads us to the second point:


Believers, Depend On The Holy Spirit For Personal Bible Study, Prayers And Faith Exploits


It’s one thing to study the Word of God as a group, in church, Sunday School, discipleship study, theology or home group study. But it’s another to study the Bible on your own with the Help of the Holy Spirit. None of these two Bible study approaches is better than the other, and we should neglect none. Both are essential in a balanced manner. Approaching God as a group in Bible study and prayers differs from approaching Him individually.


There’re things you can learn from your association with others in Bible study and prayers. The Bible says, ‘‘…Iron sharpens iron…’’ (Proverbs 27:17). The Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews notes, ‘‘And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.’’ (Hebrews 10:24-25, NKJV).


But there’re other revelations you won’t get from group Bible study or prayer. You need to develop your personal prayer life and Bible research strategies. God wants to build a relationship with your church or group. But He also desires to build a unique and personal relationship with you. Through that relationship, God will reveal specific things concerning your mission with Him on earth. You can only receive most of these specific and deep revelations concerning your calling through personal Bible study and prayers. So it’s good to study and pray with other believers. But it’s equally important to develop your personal prayer and Bible study life.


If you find yourself in a setting that doesn’t allow you enough time to approach God yourself, be careful. That’s a warning sign something isn’t normal. You can’t have group prayers and Bible study occupy all your week. Some leaders think that chocking their followers with the Word of God and prayer sessions makes them more efficient. That’s deception. You’ve got to balance things. You need time to do exploits in the field, visit your brothers and sisters in Christ, raise children, support and spent time with your family, write a book, compose a song, visit some orphans, encourage brethren in another church, develop strategies to communicate the gospel to people in your company, generate and implement a new project, invent a new machine, start a new business, do some research, etc. Your calling doesn’t involve Bible study and prayers only. That’s only one part of it. It also involves allowing God to transform the Word He teaches you into practical results in specific areas in the field. That’s the whole reason for your existence.


Paul warns ‘‘Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.’’ (Colossians 2:8, NKJV). Christ wasn’t interested in building mega-churches where believers come and warm the seats every Sunday with no purpose in life. He raised a generation of fearless and courageous men and women who went into the field to do exploits. Many commit their entire lives and resources to spiritual leaders and settings that aren’t after their spiritual development. If you’re one of them, it’s time to let Jesus set you free. It’s time to allow God to change your perspective so that you can explore. Say no to spiritual exploitation.


No, I’m not saying you neglect the spiritual help and guidance provided by your spiritual leaders. For them to be authentic, God uses them to build you up for specific exploits in the Great Commission, not to put you under their feet.


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