For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NKJV)
Several years ago our church appointed a new pastor. At the time God made it very clear to me that he was God's man. I think God did that on purpose because He knew that I would start working in my prophetic gifting, and I would need that message from Him to help guide my actions and, more importantly, my words.
See, I have a tendency to gossip. I don't mean it to be a gossip. I refer to it as venting or discussing or debating or educating, so I don't call it gossip, but that’s what it is.
I've been working on not gossiping and especially have been working very hard to respect this new pastor the way the Bible says I should, so it's very interesting when I see things going on that I disagree with now. If the pastor is doing something different than what I feel God would want him to do it, I have to prayerfully consider how I'm going to respond before I open my mouth.
And, of course, my pastor did something that I feel contradicts biblical principles. It was before I got serious about not gossiping, so I told him directly that I would oppose him (I am part of a denomination that lets members vote on the action the church takes). But when it came to opposing him, I didn’t know how to do it without gossiping, so I started talking to God about it, and that's when He reminded me of Ephesians 6:12.
If I responded in the American way, I would vote down the activity I didn't agree with. But isn't that really voting down the person behind the activity I don't like?* And wouldn't I be talking to others about my discontent, which would be gossiping?
God, however, has a completely different approach to how we are supposed to deal with conflict in the church. We are supposed to love our brothers, we are supposed to prefer others above ourselves, so when we come into conflict in the area of spiritual activities, such as things where I feel the pastor isn't recognizing the leading of the Holy Spirit the way I see it, then I am not supposed to wrestle against flesh and blood. I do not have the luxury of gossiping about what I disagree with. If I see something that I think is being done wrong I am to bring it to God and I am to wrestle in the spiritual realm only. This is God's way so I very much want it to be my way, too. I think I was more relieved than he was when I told him I would not oppose him, especially since we won a spiritual victory that day.
*There are times when God calls us to oppose leadership. Maybe, if I had known how to do it respectfully, God would have called me to do it here. This is why every action we take should be taken after prayer and hearing from God. Today's directions might not apply to the same situation tomorrow.