Friday, August 3, 2012

The Reality of Spiritual Warfare

In preparation to move overseas we heard a lot about spiritual warfare and the realities of it in an international context. It is not that we do not deal with it in the US, but it often comes in different forms such as buying into the lie that missions is optional, focusing on building bigger buildings, creating more programs, etc. All of this at the expense of being naval gazing local churches that have forgotten about the global mission. Yes, Satan probably loves most of our US churches because they pose no real threat to him or the global mission of God. But living and working overseas you open a whole new and different aspect of spiritual warfare, where in many cases you are on the front lines of darkness. 

This more heightened spiritual warfare is because there is a real battle going on in the world for God's glory to be spread amongst the nations. In spiritual warfare, Satan has a purpose to oppose the spread of the Kingdom and therefore deprive God of the glory that is due him. Satan desires to keep nations closed to the gospel, keep people groups hidden from the gospel, and to erode the faith of those serving amongst these peoples and nations.

Recently my family has been dealing with this reality and we are learning that often a spiritual attack will come where you are most vulnerable, your children. We are parents to a 17 month old little boy and the last two weeks he has been hit with one thing after another, which has resulted in a lot of stress and heartache. Although I am not one to credit everything bad that happens to spiritual warfare, I do believe that much of what my family has been dealing with of late is in direct relation to it. 

We are at a place where we are on the verge of a breakthrough in our work and seeing things moving forward in regards to the advance of the kingdom. We naively expected this to go on without any harm coming our way. The truth is that Satan greatly opposes our efforts to see the gospel advance in a culture through the church. 

Although I am known for advocating and mobilizing all people to embrace their roles as everyday missionaries, I will say that many if not most overseas contexts are not for the light weights. It is hard work and if you cannot strive forward with unhesitating devotion on the front lines than perhaps it is best for you to stay back home.

Spiritual Warfare is a daily reality in the life of a believer. It is not something that we seek after, but it is something that we know and should expect to come our way.

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