Preparing to Minister
Part 6

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Our great commission is not paused during times of great difficulty. Regardless of our circumstances, we are called to faithfully represent God, to make new disciples, and to teach them to obey God (Matt. 28:18–20; 2 Cor. 5:20). In other words, we are never absolved from our responsibility to bring people’s thinking on moral matters into conformity with God’s instructions. Therefore, any meaningful preparation plan must include a strategy for ministering through times of difficulty.

Airline passengers are told, in the event of an emergency, to place the oxygen mask on themselves before helping others. This is because we cannot help others if we are incapacitated. Similarly, if our faith is unable to persevere through times of trial, we will be incapacitated as God’s representatives. Therefore, we must prepare now to stand firm in the face of adversity. This not only involves preparing ourselves physically but also mentally, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.

The apostle Paul encourages us:

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

   Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition, to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere (Eph. 6:10–18).

We ought to use times of relative stability to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally, morally, and spiritually to resist the temptations that are exacerbated in times of difficulty: Compromise, selfishness, ruthlessness, depression, dishonesty, lawlessness, violence, etc. If we struggle with these temptations in good times, what reason do we have to believe we will remain faithful in bad times? Moreover, we should use the present to gain answers to any spiritual questions and doubts that might undermine our faith in times of difficulty.

Our goal in all this is not merely to stand firm for our own sake. Rather, our goal is to stand firm in the face of adversity so that we can effectively minister to others through times of difficulty.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.