Blessed are those who risk personal attack from the enemy to bring encouragement and hope to those in need.
No, that is not in the Bible…but it should be! I believe I speak for many of us enlisted in God’s army (including my hubby and me), when I say that serving in a ministry that takes a stand to restore the value of marriage in today’s culture can be hazardous to your physical, mental and spiritual health. To put it simply, if you are a child of God–you have a bulls-eye on your chest!
From the very beginning of our ministry teaching and mentoring pre-marital couples, my husband and I have experienced an offensive attack on our resolve to serve others. It often plays out like this:
It is the day we are to teach our quarterly class on Marital Roles and Expectations. I have had a bad day at work and my hubby has had an equally rough day. We are both tired and hungry. Dear Hubby got stuck in traffic and arrives home too late for us to eat before our class. I (being so gracious when I’m hungry…not) am now in a really bad mood, and accuse Dear Hubby of purposely trying to wreck our evening. Dear Hubby then volleys back a list of complaints about me, and off to the races we go!
We end up fighting in the car all the way to church, and by the time we arrive just minutes before we are to stand before a class of pre-marital couples, we are convinced that we are in the wrong place. After all…who are we to teach about marriage when we cannot even get along on the one night we teach class at church? Then it hits us…hey… wait a minute! We had been getting along pretty well. In fact, we cannot remember the last time we had a really nasty fight before tonight. It is then that we remember–we are in a war! But this war is not against each other, it is against the enemy of our souls.
This scenario used to play out time and time again when we had a pre-marital class to teach or before meeting a couple to mentor. Even prior to that, when we led a home Bible study one night a week, we would end up arguing before the group arrived at our home. We must be slow learners because it took several years for us to catch on to the truth…we were under attack.
Once we became aware of what was happening to us on these specific dates, we were able to see the all too obvious pattern that the enemy followed. Hard day at work, not enough sleep the night before, anxiety about being late, hunger, grouchiness in my spouse and me…and then the lies. Oh, the enemy is good at that! The Bible refers to the enemy as the father of lies. Some of the lies we heard included, You are a fake; you have no business serving in this ministry; you need to get your act together, and God can never use someone like you. Those lies and more the enemy would whisper in our ears. And unfortunately, sometimes we believed them.
So what did we do to defeat the king of lies? We prayed to the King of Truth. We now pray for wisdom, discernment and protection prior to serving others. My dear hubby and I have made a pact with each other not to be tempted to give in to minor irritations. We have agreed together that grace towards one another is our goal, and we ask God to fill in the spaces where we are lacking. He has never let us down.
In fact, on more than one occasion, my hubby and I would stand just outside the door to our classroom and pray before going in, asking God to help us because we felt weak and empty. You will never guess what happened. Those would be some of our best classes! We would often hear great reviews from the couples afterwards, and go home praising God for his love and mercy toward us.
Once we were onto the enemy’s schemes, the attacks became less and less frequent. We know that he will continue to try to make us stumble, but we know who we are in Christ. Knowing we are fighting a war has given us the resolve to never give up because God’s Word tells us the outcome has been pre-determined…the kingdom of God wins!
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“In all these things we are more than conquerors … (Nothing shall separate us from the love of God.” Romans 8:38-39