Words and warfare

For the past month I’ve been living “up close and personal” with eleven other friends on this outreach through the Balkans.  Typically we’re together every waking moment in cars, hostels, outreach activities, and meals.  For all practical purposes the only time I’m not with the team is when I’m asleep or in the restroom!

The whole experience has been an exercise in sanctification as we’ve worked through the challenges of living together in “cramped community.”   And in these conditions I’ve been noticing how crucial a few words of encouragement can be to another person.  It’s so important, I believe, that it’s actually a form of spiritual warfare.

We humans often drift through our days to the devil’s dirge of accusation and inadequacy: “I’m not good enough.  I’m too fat, too skinny, too plain, too uneducated, too clumsy, too old to have what it takes.” But the voice of Jesus offers a different story: “You can do all things through Christ.”  (Phil 4:13); “You are the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14)  “You are my beloved” (1 Cor. 15:58);  “You are more than a conqueror…” (Rom. 8:37)   and a thousand other encouraging words to the ones who are joined to Him.

I’ve gotten a bit hooked this trip on watching the faces of my friends light up by a few simple words of encouragement.  And I’ve become convinced that it’s neither a game nor just a good thing to do. Encouragement is a direct strike at the heart of the devil’s kingdom, taking out the lies that drag us down to the the grave.

“So then, encourage one another and build each other up, as you are doing.
-1 Thess. 5:11

3 thoughts on “Words and warfare”

  1. God’s Word tells us that He comforts us in our affliction so that we might comfort others in theirs. Everybody we meet is facing some kind of battle these days, so we need to speak words of LIFE to those around us, “exhorting them to love and good works”. When you lavish love and laughter on those around you, you can’t help but splash a little on yourself. Blessings, Don…


  2. I lived a “life together” with other Christian sisters & brothers for 15 days in West Virginia. There were 15 of us (one an infant son of one of the pilgrims on the journey). We were seminary students in search of worship in Appalachia but what we really were were the body joined together in common life. I can’t help but think of Bonhoeffer when I hear your story or think of my own journey. In his wonderful book “Life Together” he says: “Like Christian sanctification, Christian community is a gift of God to which we have no claim. Only God knows the real condition either our community or our sanctification. What may appear weak and insignificant to us may be great and glorious to God.”

    What a great mystery is this Kingdom life together. Thanks for sharing my friend.


  3. Oh,Don. That is what is happening right now w/me. Went to get a bone scan which I was dreading since a similar procedure in 2006 left me w/real problems. The experience this time was entirely different so when I was leaving I stopped at the desk and thanked them for all their efforts to help and reassure me. Their faces lit up and one said-‘Thanks for telling us. This has been a hard week for us ! Glad to know we were doing some good !!’ God is GOOD !!! Janet


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