Lesson 6 - Spiritual Health and Warfare
You would not dream of entering a marathon without running endless miles before the event, to build up your stamina, endurance and strength. Yet many people will make the mistake of going on their trip without proper spiritual preparation.
GETTING IT TOGETHER
A mission trip is no place to “get it together” with the Lord. Our foundation must be well set before we board that plane. How do you respond to these questions:
How comfortable are you with sharing how Christ’s story has impacted your story?Those who are not comfortable here at home, probably won’t be overseas.
How much time do you spend reading the Bible?
How dependent are you on the power of prayer? The life of the follower of Christ is a constant reliance on Christ for every step, every decision, every encounter. If you aren’t depending upon Him here, it’s doubtful you will do so “over there.”
SPIRITUAL “TO DO” LIST:
A five-point “to do” list to help us prepare for the mission ahead.
- Ask for God’s help to empty yourself of self – We need to let go of all the self-centered things that stand in the way of the Spirit using us to the fullest on this trip. Ask yourself: Am I hoping that people will look at me and be amazed by my “sacrifice”? Am I trying to please someone other than God? Proper Motivations: What motivations WOULD be considered proper for serving on global compassion team? Obedience and availability to God; a love for God and others; a passion for seeing the Truth known; Compassion for the lost; Concern for our world; Gratitude to God
- Work at becoming transparent – THINK ABOUT IT: When people look at us on the field, when they see what we do, hear what we say...they don’t see us, they see WHO WE REPRESENT - Jesus.
- Rely on God when facing challenges and uncertainty. We will face challenges and uncertainty on the field. Let’s start relying on Christ now for the aspects of our every-day-lives. Remember - often God’s answers to our challenges aren’t the ones we thought we wanted.
- Commit to live your life in a way that honors Christ. It’s been said, “You may be the only Bible someone will ever read!” Recognize that you communicate to others what you believe, what you stand for, what you depend on by your words, your actions, your body language and your choices.
- Ground yourself in God’s Word – Christian filmmaker, John Schmidt, Jr., and his wife, Cathy, wrote these lines for one of their films. The story is of a Muslim man, who came to America, and his observations of the Christians that are trying to convert him to Christianity. Among other hesitations he includes this: “You Christians say that the Bible is the Bread of Life, and yet you starve yourselves.” Let’s commit ourselves to studying God’s Word on a regular basis. Let’s memorize passages that will help us communicate God’s story to those we meet.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success. Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong. Then your body will be healthy, and your bones will be strong.” - Proverbs 3:5-8
PREPARING FOR WARFARE:
“We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the power of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual power of evil in the heavenly world.” - Ephesians 6:10-12
YOU ARE ALREADY IN THE BATTLE! There is not one area of Christian ministry that has not become a battlefield. “The greater the strides, the fiercer the battle.” Satan doesn’t care when we go about our own business, worrying predominantly about ourselves. HOWEVER, when we advance out in the world and begin doing the work of CHRIST – then we get his attention.
FEAR NOT – The battle isn’t ours…it’s Christ’s! And He has asked us to fight alongside Him in HIS STRENGTH – not our own. Remember these words: Our weapons have POWER FROM GOD THAT CAN DESTROY the enemy’s strong places. (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-6) Put on the FULL ARMOR OF GOD SO THAT YOU CAN FIGHT against the devil’s evil tricks. (See Ephesians 6) The power of God destroys, and His armor enables us to fight.
1. Begin by sharing an account from your life…a time when you had to work really hard to prepare for something. A race, a test, diet changes, a job interview, or anything else. How did you discipline yourself in your preparation (or did you?) And what was the result?
2. When was the last time you shared His Story and how it impacted your story with someone who is not a follower of Christ? How did it go? If you don’t share your faith regularly, what is it that is preventing you from doing so?
3. What is your routine for reading and studying God’s Word? Is it working for you? Any adjustments you need to make?
4.How dependent are you on God through prayer? When confronted with a challenge, what is your first thought, your first action? If it’s not prayer, why not? Is there something that’s holding you back from trusting God with EVERY aspect of your life and circumstances?
5. Before this study, what was your thinking/understanding of Spiritual Warfare? Do you feel any more confident concerning spiritual warfare? What questions or concerns still remain? Is there an area in your life that you feel has specifically come under attack since you began preparing for this mission?
*PRAY TOGETHER: – Key to our preparation as a team is our ability to pray together. So please take time now to pray through our P.U.S.H.I.N.G. O.N. prayer guide as a team.
P. Please ask God to PROTECT each team member from the enemy’s schemes. Pray that, in Christ’s strength, the enemy’s plans to stop us would be thwarted at every turn.
U. Pray for the UNITY of the team, that God would keep us connected, open and communicating throughout our journey.
S. Pray for the team’s SAFETY while traveling to and from our host country, while traveling in our host country and in our day-to-day ministry.
H. Pray that God would keep our team HEALTHY – that any ailments that team members may be suffering from presently would be healed, and that God would protect us from becoming ill overseas.
I. Pray for each team member’s INDIVIDUAL contribution. Pray that each one would step up to the plate and give their all to this ministry endeavor and that God would bring the right giftedness to every need.
N. Pray for our NATIONAL partners and missionaries. Pray that God would sustain them and give them the tools that they need to do the work He has for them to do. Pray for their health, safety and well-being.
G. Pray for GROWTH, both for ourselves and for those we will encounter. Pray that God would use this time to stretch people and to bring about spiritual growth that can only truly come when we fully surrender ourselves and our purposes to Him.
O. Pray for OPPORTUNITIES – that God would be, even now, opening doors for ministry and that those to whom we will minister are being prepared and readied to hear the message we will bring. Pray too, that while we are in-country, God would continue to soften hearts and bring new opportunities to share our faith.
N. Pray for those far from God in our host country that they will be convinced of their NEED for a Savior. Pray that, even now, there might be longing for something more and that God will give us the words to speak truth and love into their lives.