We advocate for vulnerable children in many ways- tutoring after school, birthday parties, field trips, doctor visits and quiet conversations. We fight for children to have healthy meals, and safe places to live. One way we fight for kids is spiritually.
Spiritual warfare isn’t pretty. The enemy doesn’t want vulnerable children freed, he wants them bound. He doesn’t want families strengthened or reunified. We pray the effects of trauma to be healed, and for mission guests to be inspired and challenged. We invite you to join us as we pray specifically for staff to stay on mission and this work and the people in it (donors, kids, volunteers, interns, guests, caregivers, pastors) to grow together and advance.
The Lord has given us tools and spiritual practices we can trace back to biblical stories. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some ways I’m inviting this community to stand strong:
- See people as God does, forgive liberally, listen well. Prov. 19:11 It is to a man’s benefit to overlook an offense. This works against his desire to divide people, cause strife, and create conflict. This is, perhaps, his favorite. If he can stir up trouble among God’s family, then we spend our energy working against each other and not against him.
- Take thoughts captive and focus on Him, not our fear. Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. This helps with the attach of fear/anxiety If we are busy worrying about what has, is or could, happen, we are stunned to inactivity. Gospel advancement screeches to a halt and we are overwhelmed with emotions that make us want to quit.
- Know yourself and your weakness, get accountability. James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This fights temptation. We are imperfect and shiny apples have been tripping us up since the garden. We can have an appetite for the wrong things. When anyone succumbs to temptation, we are forgiven, but not exempt from consequences.
- Ask Him for His perspective. Our hope comes from the Lord. Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. This will dispel doubt/discouragement and hopelessness. “Is this working” “Making a difference?” Setbacks are a normal part of the rhythm of warfare, and knowing they are coming go a long way in dispelling them. Our job isn’t results, it’s obedience. God measures our availability and when we don’t see transpire what we were hoping, we have to believe He is in control and will use all things for His glory.
- Test and approve. Stay in fellowship.1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith… This strategy works against deception. He is the father of lies and can make what is wrong seem right. He can impact our perception, entice lying, and foster hiding, trickery, cheating, fraud, duplicity and deceit. It takes discernment to know the difference and not fall under this scheme.
- Teach children how to call on the “name of Jesus” and discern when something is happening to them, instead of because of them. 2 Thes. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. This equips kids to fight as the enemy seeks to harm the family. When the enemy can’t get to you, he goes after who is around you. God is ultimately our Shepherd, but he’s given us authority over our families and we can use that spiritual authority in this fight.
- Remember who you are in Christ. Remember you’ve been forgiven and your identity is as His child. You are not what you’ve done or has been done to you. Confess your sins and fears to the Lord and one another. Shame will dissipate. Ps. 103:3-4 God forgives all your iniquity, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. These are tools to use to fight shame. He’s been trying since the very beginning to separate us from each other and from God. It’s isolating, and debilitating.
Sometimes, when we see an artist rendering of spiritual warfare, God is represented as the same size of Satan, however these are not characters of the same size. This enemy has to submit to the spiritual reality he doesn’t have God’s power. We are co-heirs with Christ, and because of that birthright, we can fight with confidence for ourselves and on behalf of the vulnerable children we love. Isaiah challenges us in the first chapter of his book,
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
As we learn, seek, encourage, defend and plead the case of the hurt child, let’s stay connected to each other, and to the Lord, remembering who we are fighting against and how to do it effectively. Let’s fill up and then pour out, expecting an opposition and yet ready to celebrate the victory.