Have you ever wondered why Paul instructs us to go into spiritual battle armed with "the readiness of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15) emphasis added)? Why is preparation such an essential part of spiritual warfare?
I believe the answer is no more or less than this: God is moving in the world right now, and He desires His bride, His church, to be ready to move with Him. Today I ask you, are you prepared to the best of your ability for this great move of God? Is your church?
I have been to the former Soviet Union 126 times. Every time I am to leave the country, there is always a significant amount of preparation that I must do in order to make each trip successful and as smooth as possible. There are the spiritual aspects of my trips that I must prepare for, but there are also several other preparations I must do in the natural. For example, I must raise the funds needed for the trip, book my travel reservations, pack my bags and get my staff ready for my absence from the office.
All of these details don't just happen on their own. It is up to me to be prepared in every way I can in order for my trips to be successful to the best of my own ability. Even while I'm at home in Oklahoma, I've learned that whenever I am not prepared, my days are normally not as productive or fruitful. Just as we are to be ready and prepared in our daily lives, we must be ready and prepared when it comes to the things of God.
As the body of Christ, we must be ready to move when the Holy Spirit moves. This involves layers of action on our part. Paul wrote to Timothy: "Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). First, we must present ourselves ready, and second, we must be sure we are "approved" to work for God. This means we must be able to rightly handle the Word of truth—we have to know the Scriptures well enough that we are ready to apply them to our circumstances and for the benefit of others. The Word of God is the lens through which we evaluate and navigate the world around us. If we do not know it well, we are missing a crucial means through which the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about our own life and our ministry.
Beyond this, we must prepare our hearts for service and for battle. David wrote, "My heart is steadfast" (Ps. 57:7, NIV). We must have steadfast hearts, "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:17, MEV) so that we can serve our God faithfully and withstand any attack from the enemy. Only when we have prepared our faith in this way will we "be able to stand [our] ground, and after [we] have done everything, to stand" (Eph. 6:13, NIV).
However, this preparation must extend beyond ourselves. Part of our job as leaders in the body of Christ is to be sure that those we are leading are as prepared for the moves of God as we are. As handlers of the Word of truth, we must help others to be ready for this move of God right along with us. Is your church ready for a move of God? Are your volunteers and staff ready for a great outpouring of God's Spirit? If there were a thousand people who accepted Christ in a church service today, would you have programs in place to help them to embrace their new faith into their everyday lives? If God moved to have a healing line in your service, would you and your church staff/volunteers be prepared to drop the original day's plan and obey without delay?
If you can honestly say yes, great! Now go make sure your church leadership can say the same. Make sure they know to teach their leaders to do the same.
If you aren't sure if you and your church are prepared, or if you know you aren't, you aren't stuck where you are. You aren't doomed to be unprepared forever. You—and you alone—hold the keys to making the changes necessary so that God can use you whenever He needs, however He needs. With self-discipline and the Holy Spirit's help, you can be the sort of person and lead the sort of church that is ready to move with Him now. What a difference it will make in your life—and in those of countless others.
You are beautiful. I see Jesus in you!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the Book of Hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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