Are you in ministry? Or maybe just starting a ministry? Perhaps you don’t have a formal ministry but you encourage and reach out to the hurting you meet in life. Whatever form of ministry you are in–
Duck–because you are under attack!
I remember well the day we sat around the table at church. We were gathered together as a committee to interview and find the right pastor for our church. The meeting had just started and one by one we shared the events of our life the past week. There were serious illnesses, crisis, and dangerous events in each of our lives. It was clear, we were under attack from the evil one.
If you are in ministry, you can anticipate attack in one way or another as well. Setbacks, crisis, losses, slow growth, failures, gossip, illness, and more can all be used by Satan to keep our ministry from reaching the lost. He seeks our failure at any cost.
But God has given us powerful tools and effective weapons against spiritual forces of darkness.
Paul lists them in Ephesians 6:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (12-18)
Using the imagery of a Roman warrior’s armor, Paul describes the armor Christian’s have to protect against evil forces. The belt of a warrior supported his lower abdomen and held his sword. For Christians, we have the belt of truth which gives us the confidence that God’s word is true and reliable. It supports and sustains us in battle.
Because Christ’s righteousness has been given to us, we can wear it as our breastplate. No accusations thrown against us can penetrate the holiness given to us by Christ. Just as a soldier’s footwear protected him in battle, the peace we have from the power of the gospel prepares us for war against evil. Also, our salvation through Christ gives us confidence that protects us in battle, just as a helmet protects a soldier’s head.
The shield a Roman soldier carried was long and able to protect him from head to toe. It was made of wood and covered in animal hide. When the soldier dipped the shield into water before a battle, the fiery arrows shot at him could be extinguished by the shield. For us, the evil one constantly assaults us with temptations, but with the shield of faith we can stand firm against him.
The one actual weapon given to us is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. A Roman soldier’s short sword was used in hand to hand combat. Just as Jesus used Scripture in his battle against Satan in the desert, we also are to use Scripture in defense against Satan’s attacks.
Our little committee faced our battles head on. We held tight to God’s word, fasted, and spent hours in prayer. It was a tough battle but God was with us through all of it. Satan did not win and we found a wonderful pastor for our church.
When your own ministry is under attack, remember that God has not left you alone. He’s given you armor that is always at the ready. Our salvation in Christ is complete and sure. We can stand firm before all attacks because we have God on our side. So be prepared for attacks but don’t despair. Though we still have battles yet to fight, Jesus has already won the war.