My Greatest Fear (Part 3)

The most gung-ho American soldiers are 18-19 year old kids just out of army or marine boot camps. Their uniforms are pressed and clean, boots are shiny and new, and guns are oiled and ready. To them, there is no doubt the enemy will be defeated in quick order because that’s what they’ve been trained to do. It’s their job and – by golly – they are going to do it. Geronimo!

But the best soldiers are not those gung-ho kids entering their first battles, but rather, the ones who survive their first battles.

You see, in the midst of their first battles, these young kids, who figured they would live forever, discovered that they might die. They watched gunfire wound and kill their comrades, heard screams and live ammo, and smelled the stench of cordite in the air.

Yes, training prepared the raw recruits for entering their first battles. But after the first bullets whizzed by their ears, they knew they had to adapt to the battlefield conditions they faced, rather than the ones they had been taught about, if they wanted to survive the war.

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare (1 Timothy 1:18)

I once prayed for a Southern Baptist missionary who had just returned from his first tour in South Korea. He and his wife were on a short holiday, visiting local churches.

“Do you have any prayer requests?” I asked before praying for him

“Yes,” he whispered, “pray for me to receive the spiritual gifts.”

To say his request shocked me would be an understatement because we were in a Southern Baptist church at the time. I swallowed my curiosity and prayed for him.

Later, the missionary explained the reasoning behind his request. Like most Southern Baptists, he had been dead set against the spiritual gifts for years. Who needed such spiritual mumbo jumbo, he thought.

Then, he went to Busan, South Korea, population: 3.6 million.

There he encountered a culture cemented into hundreds of years of Buddhism and ancestral worship. As he tried to plant a church, he quickly discovered how ill equipped he was to conduct spiritual warfare against entrenched demons and principalities. He needed new spiritual weapons and miracles.

“South Korea is not like America,” he said, “and if I want to be an effective missionary, I need the spiritual gifts.”

Like the gung-ho soldiers, the missionary had been trained to enter the battle, but once in the field, he needed to adapt to the conditions facing him in order to fulfill his calling and advance the kingdom of God in South Korea.

A plan seldom survives the first contact with the enemy. (U.S. First Army Axiom)

Like the raw recruits and the missionary, I discovered I needed to adapt and change in my valley of the shadow of death experience.

And it’s not that I lacked spiritual discipline or training. Because at the time of my 42 check fiasco, it was my habit to arise at 3 AM to pray for three hours each morning before putting in a full day’s work. In the evenings, I read and studied for two hours or more. Two days per week I fasted and the spiritual gifts were sharp and ready at all times.

Yet, I was not able to fight the good fight…which means I could not win in head to head spiritual battles with principalities and demons.

So, what were my problems?

(Continued in Part 4)

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10 Comments

Filed under Christianity

10 responses to “My Greatest Fear (Part 3)

  1. Send that man to our Baptist church.

  2. Wish more of my Baptist buddies would become ‘Baptacostals,’ LN! Good job out of you.

  3. Naphtali.

    Thanks. I love exceptions, and to be honest, I enjoy Baptist churches because they are strict Bible followers and teach grace.

  4. Bill Sheridan,

    Thanks. I, too, have more than a few Baptist friends.

  5. Mr. Larry, I am listening and learning here. This is important for me / us . .I just feel it. Thank you . ..even if I have to wait to learn more! 🙂 God bless you as you keep adjusting and fighting today!

  6. Debbie,

    Thanks. I hope we all learn these lessons because nothing would please me more than to realize no one else would ever have to go through such agony.

  7. Like the Baptist missionary you prayed for, many other missionaries over the decades have been relying on the Holy Spirit to empower them with the spiritual gifts to meet the demands of the mission field in South Korea. And God has answered, and is answering, their prayers (and yours), for today South Korea has been the most receptive to the Christian Gospel of all the nations in Asia, with the most number of Christians and the most number of established churches in Asia. In fact, South Korea has embraced Christianity to such an extent that it now provides the world with the second largest number of Christian missionaries behind the United States, sending out 12,000 Korean missionaries to over 160 countries, including the U.S. South Korea also has 11 of the world’s 12 largest mega-churches in the world, with Yoida Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal congregation, the largest with nearly 1 million members and weekly attendance of over 250,000.

    This phenomenal growth of Christianity since the 1960s could only have happened by the Holy Spirit providing spiritual gifts and empowerment to countless obedient and humble servants of God. I believe that your missionary friend was one of them.

  8. Derrick,

    Thanks for your insight and facts about South Korea. I appreciate your input.

  9. This is very insightful, Larry. Most of us have no idea what real spiritual battles demand. I confess that what I might think is “spiritual warfare” is probalby child’s play compared to the real thing. Thanks, as always, for challenging me.

  10. Judy,

    The most important point to remember about spiritual warfare is that we are in the battle whether we know it or not.

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