Many of us who surrender to the call to serve in missions have no idea that we have just crossed a red line with the Prince of Darkness, but we soon learn. Satan has no desire for us to stay committed to that call. He’d much rather see us pack it in before we ever leave, but he’ll be satisfied even if we do make it overseas, to see us admit defeat and head home.
What prepares us to face our adversary?
Because I can’t write another book to answer that question, today, I’m going to highlight one aspect of staying battle ready. You can find out more by reading the book I reference at the end of this post. What is made available to us from the moment we give our lives to the Lordship of Christ? His armor. This armor has served us well within our own environment, but we many times begin to take it for granted, and by the time we say yes to cross-cultural service, we’ve forgotten its importance. That’s why I want to focus on it now.
Looks can be deceiving.
Paul tells us:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.Ephesians 6:12 CSB
As we prepare for the field or even after we arrive, we face challenges. It can be a personality clash with a teammate, sickness, or lack of funding, but Satan will try to use every physical event—even those God allows for our good—to bring an intellectual or spiritual reaction. Before we realize it, we’re angry, doubting our call, depressed, or fearful. The physical event may pass, but the spiritual reaction lingers, if we don’t give it to God and call Satan’s hand.
Take up the armor
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.Ephesians 6:10-11
We have this armor for a purpose. It’s for offensive and defensive battle, but it’s also for our strengthening. Why? Because it’s given to us by Almighty God. The Lord of ultimate power and strength builds us up by suiting us up with truth, righteousness, readiness to share the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit, and God’s Word.
When I look at this wonderful gift, I realize it’s just that—a gift from God. None of these armor parts have anything to do with what we do. They are all given to us by God in Christ Jesus.
- Jesus is the truth. God’s Word is truth.
- We are made righteous through faith in Christ. It’s not a righteousness of our own.
- The readiness that comes with the “gospel of peace” is that peace which passes all understanding, given by Christ, enabling us to share the good news in season and out.
- The size of our faith is unimportant, the object of our faith (Jesus Christ) is all important, because God can take it and grow it, performing wonders we can never imagine.
- Salvation is obviously not by works, or we’d have reason to boast, so we just don’t.
- Once we believe, the Spirit indwells in us, making his Word alive in our minds and hearts.
The armor of God is God-given, God-enabled, and God-powered!
We just have to claim it and put it on! No matter what comes our way in cross-cultural ministry, his protection envelops us. Speak his truth, proclaim your faith in him, be joyful in his salvation, rest in his peace, and speak his Word. Satan can’t stand up against such a warrior.
Are you battle weary? Set your mind on Christ and in the Satan-blasting armor he’s provided. Take up the full armor of God, resist the devil, and stand to his glory.
Grace and Peace
To find out more about maintaining your spiritual strength, check out my latest book Not in Kansas Anymore: Finding Home in Cross-Cultural Service. It’s available in e-book and paperback formats.