"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:8-11
What's the best way to steer clear of trouble and resist the devil? What should we do as we go into the world and witness for Christ?
I (Ian) grew up going to church, I had only a handful of Christian friends during my teen years. I accepted Christ around age 9, but my faith didn't solidify until I had been at Wheaton for over a year.
In high school, I played in some secular night club bands, but it wasn't until I got to college that I learned anything about Christian music. It was about my sophomore year when I waltzed into a Christian music store and asked, "You mean there are Christians making music?" Little did I realize, I one day have my own Christian band!
When it comes to my music ministry, I try not to freak out over something someone might be dealing with or doing. I've known too many Christians who haven't been able to be friends with, say, a homosexual, and cast that person out and can't even carry on a normal conversation with him or her.
I'll never forget a particular witnessing experience I had in New York City. I entered a club in Greenwich Village out of curiosity because everyone going in and out was dressed in black. When I went inside, a girl approached me and asked, "Are you a Christian?" I replied, "Yes; how did you know?" She then answered, "Because you have a really messed-up crown on your head."
I ended up having a conversation with her and learned that she was involved in dark magic. She told me that there was a lot of power available in the occult. I returned gently with, "Maybe, but it's nothing compared to the power in Jesus Christ."
Here's what that experience ended up teaching me: Fear of people who are different shouldn't keep Christians from reaching out. In fact, we just can't be afraid of the world. We don't have to dive in headfirst and fall prey to the darkness, but we have to be familiar with what may come at us so that we'll know how to respond. The truth of Jesus Christ is powerful, yet we've got to work in His power--not our own. Oftentimes, Christians go off on these huge tangents of telling others how they're wrong, when all we need to do is tell them how to make it right.
Lord, help me to be smart, not scared. Fill me with Your power and guard my steps--especially my words. Amen.