Do you remember the old Gremlins movies? It was an ‘80’s humorous, horror film where ugly reptile-like creatures caused mischief and problems wherever they went. Worst of all, they multiplied like crazy when they got wet. All gremlins originated from one source. It was a cute, furry little creature named Gizmo. If Gizmo got wet, he would multiply into other little creatures that were very similar to himself except they didn’t have the same self-control Gizmo had. If any of these creatures ate food after midnight, they would turn into these nasty vile gremlins.

When we feed our flesh “after midnight,” we help a ravenous vileness grow inside of us. Our flesh is never satisfied. In fact, the more you feed it, the hungrier it gets. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

As planters and pastors, we can’t forget that we have this flesh warring against the Spirit every single day. Even though we are leaders with spiritual influence, it does not make us immune to this monster. It is crucial that we recognize that our flesh is hungry, and it doesn’t want what the Spirit wants. If we are not careful, ministry can be a buffet of opportunity allowing our flesh to feed like a fat kid at Golden Corral.

Where’s your heart?

Our church has been going through the book of 1 Samuel, and it has been interesting taking a closer look at the life of Saul. Saul was forced into the role of king. At the very beginning, Saul was a simple farmer who hid when Israel was craving a king. During Saul’s kingship, he battles valiantly against Israel’s enemies. But from time to time, Saul would make questionable choices. Many of his decisions appear to be in the best interest of Israel. However, Saul’s problem is that his heart has been consumed, not by the heart to follow God, but the heart to follow his own ambitions.

It’s easy to cloud our hearts with spiritual language

In church work, pastors and planters can hide their true ambitions in ministry. It may be a claim to help more people or to do good things. However, their true goal may be to build their own brand or extend their name recognition. If you want to know where you heart is, you have to be honest with yourself about real motives.

Control the illusion of control

Ministry leaders can often be great strategists. Strategy is a good character trait necessary for church planting. However, if we’re not careful, strategy can appear to be what grants spiritual outcomes and results. We can’t control or affect change in someone else’s life. We must be 100% dependent upon the Spirit of God for that power. If we are results-oriented, we may become pragmatic looking for quick fixes and short-term gains instead of true life change in people’s lives. We start feeling like failures when the results aren’t what we expect and like heroes when we exceed our expectations.