We live in perilous times. Whether we realize it or not we all live and work and minister in the middle of a spiritual battlefield. Spiritual warfare is taking place all around us. There is a cosmic battle in the unseen realm where demons and angels struggle for the allegiance of the souls of men, women and children.
Right there in your neighborhood spiritual conflicts are being played out in the unseen world. There are spiritual casualties in these conflicts. The casualties are people who will spend eternity in the torments of hell.
We have been entrusted with the privilege and responsibility to be agents in this struggle. We are commissioned to be factors in the outcome of this life and death wrestling for souls. The people who live on your street, who pick up your garbage, who share the roads with you, who serve you at the store, each will end up in heaven or hell. That couple walking the dog past the house is headed for eternity some day. That boy on a skateboard in the parking lot has an eternal soul. The girl who carried out your groceries earlier today will sing at the foot of Jesus’ throne someday or suffer forever in hell.
Everyone you know is a spiritual being. Every one you know will live forever either in the presence of God or in the torments of hell. And we can influence their eternal destiny.
This may sound confusing and complex but it is not. It is simple. There is a simple message of truth, that once believed and received will secure eternal life for any one who turns from his sin and comes to Christ. That simple message of truth is called the gospel. It is the good news that Jesus died for sin and that sinners can be forgiven.
We can explain that message of truth. We can invite them to places where that life-giving message will be explained. We can give them books or pamphlets, or tapes or videos that make that message clear. We can work to live in such a way as to make that message attractive to them. Paul called that “adorning the doctrine.” (Titus 2:10)
We can help dispel some of the misconceptions about Christians and the church that stand in the way of their understanding of that message. There are dozens of things that we can do to prepare the soil of their heart and plant the seed of truth in it.
So we aren’t overwhelmed by the task of seeing a person who has no apparent understanding or interest in spiritual things, it is helpful to understand how God works. When someone comes to faith the Christ it is a process, it is a team effort and it is a miracle of God.
It’s A Process
God works on a timeline drawing a person to himself. We don’t have to guide a person in a few minutes from total ignorance or antagonism toward God and spiritual things to repentance and conversion. We just need to allow God to use us to “nudge” them one step closer because it is a process. The journey of faith is a journey of many stages.
It’s A Team Effort
God works with teams, small platoons of faithful Christians each contributing something unique. Every Christian has a strength, often called a spiritual gift. Every believer has a special ability of some kind. Some are good at building, others at organizing. Some are great with words or letters. Some are gifted in hospitality. They can make people feel welcomed and loved. Some are good at making sin clear and stirring the conscience of one who is far from God.
We don’t have to do everything alone. When God begins to draw a person to Himself He will burden someone to pray for them. He will bring circumstances to bear that make him receptive. He will place a number of Christians in his path.
“And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. “For in this the saying is true: ?One sows and another reaps.’ “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:36-38)
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:5-9)
You are not the whole team you are just one player with a simple job to do. It’s encouraging to know that you are especially gifted to do that job and to do it well. Your God-given ability is actually supernaturally empowered. It is “supercharged” to be effective in accomplishing its purpose. This all happens in the unseen realm of the spirit.
These may seem like benign and simple gestures but all put together and empowered of God they are factors in spiritual warfare. I love the way Joe Aldrich put it:
“Bake bread, pies, cookies, or muffins. Fix garbage disposals or toilets, help people with their homes or projects, celebrate with them, grieve with them. Done in the name of Christ such actions become spirit-empowered weapons which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” (emphasis mine).