What one quality does ultimate success depend on – without which nothing of any eternal or lasting value can be accomplished? One might argue for different qualities, but there is one that has kept me on target and in the ministry through 25 (many of them quite difficult) years on the mission field. It has kept me when all hope was seemingly gone, when I seemed surrounded by darkness, through loneliness, through broken dreams, and yes, even the times when I felt like a failure, worthless at what I felt God had called me to accomplish.
That quality is immovability – unable to be moved by argument or pressure. Steadfast, unwavering, unswerving, resolute, determined, adamant, and firm are just some of its synonyms. Some others, that the dictionary links with inanimate objects that I think are worthy of contemplation as believers are: secure, stable, rooted, anchored, fast, and firm.
Ephesians 6:10-20 gives us incredible insight into why this quality is so important, and also when and how to practically implement it. First, we are in a spiritual battle! We have an enemy that is actively trying to destroy our marriages, steal the hearts of our kids, divide our churches and nation, as well as discourage us to the point of giving up on God’s call and plan. Our enemy isn’t our spouse, children, coworkers, fellow church members, or government leaders. We have one enemy, the devil, and his spiritual forces. But, God has given us protection (armor), as well as weapons (shield and sword), if we will but use them! We won’t use them though until we are able to discern the true source of our discouragement, conflict, depression, etc. Discernment comes by knowing and reminding ourselves of what the Word of God says (belt of truth), keeping ourselves cleansed of sin through repentance (breastplate of righteousness), choosing to let go of offense and anger (feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace), and being confident in our position as God’s child (helmet of salvation). Once that armor is in place, then we are able to stand our ground, “and after you have done everything, to stand.” There are times that come where all you can do is refuse to give up, even if all that remains is to hang on, to remain in that place to which God has called you. Hang on to your faith that God’s Word is true, the Word that He gave you personally in prayer, as well as His written Word, which you use to combat the enemies lies in prayer.
Ministry is difficult at times, working at IMM is no exception. Our days aren’t filled with exciting events year round. Our tasks aren’t always ones that are life-giving to us personally. Conflict is a reality that we face. Each one of us deals with insecurity, just like you. But, like you, if we want to see God at work in and through us, if we want to be a part of what He is doing to reach every person with the Gospel, if we are looking for His soon return and to hear those words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”, we must choose to put on the armor of God daily, and yes, some days, we must simply choose to stand, and not give up!