In order to “win” the battle for souls in this world, there are several ambassador essentials that we must practice. Remember that all Christians are missionaries to their spheres of influence- and although we play a significant role planting and watering the soil upon which we labor…God ultimatly brings the growth! And so, in order to plant and water effectively we must as Scripture commands “prepare our minds for action.” To be missionally effective, we must …1) exhibit and maintain growth in knowledge…such as a solid understanding of the gospel, theology, philosophy, culture, and apologetics. 2) We must exhibit a vibrant and robust spiritual life and maintain growth in virtue and character. 3) We must be intentional to take wise and tactful action in our spheres of influence. This action will look differently for each person and for each situation but the key point is that something must be done. We can’t sit back passively. We must expect God to move and ask Him to do just that. We must pray for opportunities and then go and be ready for them when they come. And when they come (and they always do) we must intentionally take risks, rather than cower in fear. If we cower in fear, we will lose the battle and will not reap the reward. We must expect to win!
One day Kaylee and I were with one of our mentors (Steve) and at that point Kaylee was significantly struggling with faith in God’s reality- partly because her 26 year old brother had recently died in a car accident. Our mentor told us a true story in his life to encourage our faith. I share it with you not only to encourage your faith but to encourage you to take some risks with your faith and expect God to move.
Here is that story: One day several years back when he was still a pastor at a church, a grandma in the church called him up and said that her daughter was at the hospital and had just given birth to a stillborn baby. She asked him to come and pray that the baby would come back to life. Our mentor (admittedly conservative) said that he wouldn’t do that, but that he would go and be with the family. Before he left to go to the hospital, he told one of the other pastors at the church what the grandma had said. The other pastor advised him not to pray that the baby come back to life unless somehow God “told” him to (whatever that means). Steve told us that as he was driving to the hospital (and he could remember the specific place on the freeway) that he sensed God saying to him: “Do you believe I can do this? raise the baby?” Of course as a pastor he has to say yes, but…well there are so many reasons not to even attempt it.
So Steve got to the hospital with the spiritual sense that he was supposed to pray that this stillborn baby come back to life. As he approached the baby’s room, a nurse stood in his way. She had heard from the grandma what he was going to do and she would not allow it. Steve didn’t want to cause anymore trouble and tried to make that very clear- he simply wanted to be there to give the family support. But the grandma was not going to settle for that. She went into the room where the baby had been dead for an hour and took a polaroid picture of it. Steve told us that the baby in the picture was grey and that the grandma came out and in the midst of the commotion threw the polaroid on the floor and said to him, pointing at the picture… “Pray!” He started to go down to pray and the dad of the baby (a big weightlifting type) came at him with his hands to try to choke him. While this was all happening, Steve prayed (not through his faith, but because God is able) that God would bring the baby back to life. And at this point in his story our mentor said- “I lie to you not- God brought the baby back to life.”
Now for some of you this might raise more questions than it answers: why doesn’t God raise every baby? Why doesn’t he seem to work like that in my life? Why didn’t I hear about this on the news? Why, Why, Why? And I submit to you that all of your questions will never be settled completely. But nevertheless, you can rationally know that God is real and thus should expect him to move in Godlike ways. So go and take some risks, expecting God to move and He undoubtedly will! Why don’t you start by praying which neighbor God wants you to go impact for Christ? And when you sense which house it is… go and tell them that God sent you to pray with and for them and to encourage them. And do not be afraid, but expect to win…You undoubtedly will- with God’s strength!