Thursday, July 10, 2008

profiting from trials and spiritual warfare

In a previous post I made mention of an intense period of trials I have been going through, perhaps the most powerful bout with spiritual warfare I have experienced in the three years that have passed since we said yes to the opportunity to return to Troy.

As Jesus told Peter, "Satan has asked for you, that He may sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail." (Luke 22:31-32).

The battle I have been enduring was more from the inside than from the outside, although Satan has been using outside sources; people, conflict, situations, etc. to try and cause me to become unraveled. Feelings of failure and doubt had nearly caused me to walk away from the ministry God has called me to in Troy's inner-city. All the while I have continued to meditate upon the word of God and to pray for widom, patience and strength to stand firm.

I have been clinging to the words of James,

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:2-6)

After several months of praying through and enduring this battle, I am beginning to see the brighter side of it all. There are some incredible doors opening that I did not see several months back and I am seeing that God has been using this intense spiritual battle to prepare me for what lies ahead. God has also been showing me that I'm not here on my own to fight this battle of faith. He is with me every step of the way; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not only to stand with me, but to fight the battle with me and for me. Through all of this He has tested and strenghened my faith so that I will be equipped to walk with those who are experiencing their own battles with the "principalities and spiritual powers of darkness" (aka Satan and his army of demons).

Some of my fellow church planters may be reading this and identifying with what I have shared. Perhaps you're in the midst of such a battle. Be in His word. Be in prayer. Trust that He will walk through the fire with you, and if you need someone to pray with you nd for you, give me a call or shoot me an e-mail.