My wife and I have served overseas for almost 7 years now. Towards the beginning I remember a horribly vivid dream I once had. In it I was approached by a beautiful woman. As she got uncomfortably closer her entire faced transformed into a hideous snake like demon. She gnashed her teeth at me and I woke up. It was disturbing enough that I sat up and said a prayer.
I don’t typically remember dreams but this one I remember. In fact I remember the exact place I had it. My family and I were sleeping in a hotel room in the capital city. We were in transition at the time. We were in the middle of moving to a small town in an unreached province to launch a new work. Maybe there was something wrong with the room itself? Either way I couldn’t shake the feeling that this dream was a part of a deeper struggle, something that I have struggled with long before meeting Jesus…lust.
I shared with a mentor my dream and he asked me if I thought it was from the Lord or the enemy? We concluded that it was from the enemy because God is truth and Satan is deception. The lie is that I am still in bondage to lust. The truth is that I am completely set free.
I’m learning that the enemy uses our weaknesses against us, especially in our place of mission. Some of us falsely assume that “serving God full-time in glorious missionary service” will somehow wipe away all our previous struggles. It’s the complete opposite. Your struggles are only amplified when you enter a region or country where the light of Christ is completely absent. Sin must be dealt with and its doors must be completely closed if you plan on advancing God’s Kingdom in dark places.
Ever had a crazy thought that was completely out of character?
“You suck at this. Why did you even start?”
“You should just leave in shame and give it all up.”
“You’ve failed. This can never be made right.”
I have always been highly committed to a cause – whether it was street gangs as a teenager or to the unreached as a missional worker, thoughts about giving up were uncharacteristic of my temperament. So if they don’t come from God they must be taken captive and kicked to the curb. It’s been a few years now and I’ve come to see a pattern in spiritual attack. Whenever the Kingdom of God is advancing in dark places, trials, temptation and physical attack occurs with our families and team members. Our greatest defense is to quote scripture and proclaim our place in Christ. Bank on the promise that we are free, He is victorious and live out that truth each day.