In every mission effort, there are 3 battles that we need to face and we need to win in the mission field. I guess some of you have experienced these things in one way or another. Let’s learn it through the experiences of Paul and his companions.
The Spiritual Battle
Once they were going to a place of prayer when they met a slave girl who has python spirit. It’s a kind of demonic spirit that tells the future. The slave girl is being used by her master to make money by foretelling. When Paul’s company arrived, the slave girl keeps on shouting telling other people “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”
We can see in the passage that the slave girl is in fact telling the truth. Paul, Silas and Timothy are servants of the Most High God. But what’s bothering Paul here is that she kept on doing this for many days. Paul must have discerned that what the servant girl is doing is not God’s work, but a work of the enemy. With this, he turned around and said to the spirit: “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that very moment the spirit left her.
In our daily lives as Christians, we face different kinds of spiritual battles. Some battles may not be obvious to us this is why we need discernment. We need to know and see what is God’s and what’s not. We need to understand that sometimes, darkness acts as light. It can be deceiving at times. For this reason, we need to be vigilant in sometimes we see them as a sort of righteousness, especially in things that are too good to be true.
The Physical Battle
Not only that Paul and company faced spiritual battle, they also faced physical battle. When the slave girl lost her power and her owners realized that their hope of making money is gone, they grab Paul and his team and drag them into the market place to face the authorities. They threw lots of different accusations to them and the crowd joined the attack against them.
When we are in the field, especially in closed countries, there is a big possibility that we will be experiencing physical battles like the one that Paul and his company experienced. Even in our daily walk, we do experience physical battles. Sometimes, it’s not other people who persecute us but it’s our body that is limiting us to do God’s work.
Nonetheless, what we can learn from the story is that even in the midst of physical battle that we are experiencing, it is important that we will not give up. God’s message to Paul is very clear, go to Macedonia.
The Emotional Battle
What’s more bothering for any minister is the emotional battle. It’s not only true to ministers, but at least to most people. When we experience some kind of physical battle, emotional battle comes in next. The next scenario in our story is when Paul and Silas were flogged, beaten, stripped. Then they were locked up in prison and fastened their feet in a stock.
If you can just imagined Paul and his company’s experience, all of them are probably in a bad shape. They have lots of wounds, full of dirt, and they are very uncomfortable. They have a very inhuman treatment as far as the Bible describes it. I can only imagine that if we are in their situation, many of us would have probably fallen. But Paul and his company instead of complaining and blaming God, they sing hymns and pray.
Then they had a chance to escape from what they are suffering, but they didn’t. Instead they stayed and ministered to the jail guard who is about to kill himself thinking that the prisoners have escaped. Come to think about this, they ministered to the jail guard; it’s not the jail guard who ministered to them.
In our walk, physical torment is sometimes bearable but emotional torment is different. It is something that is harder to bear. But here we can see the positivism of Paul’s team. They can still sing and pray even in the midst of severe physical and emotional torment.