Fighting the good fight
Life as a Christian is a battle, wherever we are. Paul orders us in Ephesians to “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” and put on the full armour of God. We need to remember this because Satan is trying to deceive us, to lead us away, distract us or make us fearful in our worship and faithful obedience to God’s reign.
This is the universal Christian experience yet when we engage with unreached people, eager to see them come to maturity in Christ, the battle can intensify. Satan does not want us there. And he will use a myriad of tactics to disrupt us.
How do we fight his lies when we are moving home or changing culture, misunderstanding one another in multicultural teams, giving up careers or starting them over in a new place, struggling to learn language? Confusion, exhaustion and comparison with others can lead us to feel like failures. And indeed, this can lead us to turn to fall back into sinful patterns we thought we had laid to rest.
How can we fight discouragement when we see ministry opportunities open and quickly close? Or when we labour for years but see little fruit? Many times our workers tell of exciting steps in ministry that are abruptly interrupted or shrivel to nothing. Many times they’ve experienced the frustration of fruitful conversations interrupted by the arrival of new friends and the obligatory fresh pouring of coffee, or growing favour with local authorities that is suddenly stunted without explanation. One couple in the Gulf shared how they were able to pray for a local woman for freedom from fear at night. The woman’s daughter agreed to meet for coffee, and this turned into a glorious two-hour opportunity to explain to someone who had longed to know about the cross, and its meaning. A further meeting seemed difficult to arrange and eventually it was revealed that the mother thought this lady was a witch and wanted her daughter to avoid her.
How can we fight fear when we see attacks from the enemy? One lady ministering in Asia reports that often before a week of dedicated prayer ministry she will encounter vertigo or attacks on her thought life. Others have seen “random” accidents or emergencies occur at what seemed to be pinnacle points in their ministry, perhaps as a local believer steps forward in bold testimony.