During our month at Center for Intercultural Training, we spent some time considering spiritual warfare in a cross-cultural/missions context. Spiritual warfare may look different from place to place, but one thing is sure. “Satan is roaming about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”
Another missionary mentioned one unique aspect of spiritual warfare that we may soon be facing. She mentioned that they experienced (and other veteran missionaries have as well) a 10-15% drop in support soon after reaching the field. She and her colleagues attributed this drop in support to spiritual warfare.
When I heard about that, I remembered a phrase I heard as a Marine officer, “In warfighting, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.” The point is that battles can be won on the front lines, but the war can be lost due to an interruption in the supply chain. Troops in the front lines cannot fight without logistical support! We are about to enter the battle on the front lines in Alaska. God has used this training and the last 18 months preparing us, and we are aware and alert for the spiritual battle ahead. But we also know that the enemy may also attack our supply line: you, our supporters
Are you prepared for a possible spiritual battle? Take a moment to read Eph. 6:10-20 and consider some extra preparation for battle. As a Marine officer, we were told to care for “your Marines, your gear, then yourself.” Paul was not a Marine, but he seemed to understand the same priorities.
Your Marines. Notice the previous passages about relationships and Paul’s reminder in 6:12 that our fight is NOT with flesh and blood. Could Satan be attacking you in the area of relationships? Remember: our relationships are to be a demonstration of Christ. Are you loving one another as Christ loved us?
Your Gear. Consider the condition of your armor. In the Marine Corps, gear maintenance was continuous. Readiness meant having all your gear in working order. Belt of truth: are you setting your mind on what is true? Breast plate of righteousness: are you clothing yourself in the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:19-21) and in righteous acts (Romans 6:1-14; Rev. 19:8)? Shod with the Gospel of peace: explore the great truths of the Gospel and be prepared to share it (Rom. 10:15)! Shield of faith: take God at His word (James 1:5, 6 and Hebrews 11). Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God: note the importance of sound doctrine in spiritual warfare (I Tim. 4:1-6). Helmet of salvation: rejoice in what Paul also calls “the helmet of the hope of salvation” in I Thes. 5:8-11.
Your Self. Prayer: caring for yourself as you care for others. This is probably the most easily neglected aspect of spiritual warfare. It is so easy to try to fight in your own strength, but it is prayer that allows you to go beyond what you can do on your own. In Eph. 6:18-20, Paul explains the need for continuous prayer. Maintaining your walk with God through prayer is essential in the spiritual battle, and upholding others is equally essential for them. Paul reminded the Ephesians to pray for the saints and for him as he proclaimed the Gospel (Eph. 6:18-19). We know that you are praying for us. This we greatly need for the battle ahead. But consider, also, praying for one another—our partners in ministry. Pray that y’all (sorry, just spent a month in North Carolina) will stand fast in the battle that is sure to come to all those that are part of this fight.
Your fellow soldiers (Marines?),
James and Shannon