Heart for Malawi
In the two short weeks I’ve been here, God has really opened up my heart to the Malawian people.
It’s a lot different from America in many ways. For instance, you can walk down the street, hand someone a tract, and they will stop and talk with you. That’s amazing when you really think about it. No one’s in a hurry to be anywhere, and you’re a mzungu (white person) who wants to talk to them, so the people are all ears.
What’s even more surprising is when you ask them about Jesus, they know who He is! Many will even call Him their Lord and Savior in the conversation, and it has helped me to realize that sometimes I’m just there to encourage them in the faith they already stand in.
Power of God
Despite finding so many who already know Jesus, we have seen how the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) during our street evangelism. It’s humbling to witness or be a part of the simple Gospel being preached and it bringing so many to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Often times on outreach in Baltimore, it would be difficult to even bring the name of Jesus into the conversation. I think the devil does this on purpose, because he knows the power Christ has to draw all men to Himself when His name is lifted up (John 12:32).
One of my main roles on the team here is teaching Biblical Psychology in the Bible College. We have about 200 students from many different ministries all packed into a little school hall all day Saturday and Sunday. It’s a loaded course, and I feel like I’ve taken in so much!
Because I think about and pray for many of you, I wanted to share one of the thoughts from my class with you. Even though I’m on another continent, I’m still a Bible college student just like you, and I know the types of things we go through as students, so I hope this encourages you.
In Psalm 51:6, God desires truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part He shall make us to know wisdom. We know Jesus to be the truth in John 14:6, and we also know the Word of God to be truth in John 1:1 and 1:12. So the truth is always available to us as Bible College students. It’s there in our study life, it’s there in our prayer times, and it’s there in our classes every night. When we hear the truth, faith is produced (Romans 10:17) and it emanates through our spirit, soul, and body. And when we know the truth, the truth will make us free (John 8:32). The truth is for our benefit, always, no matter how much it may contend against our flesh when we first hear it.
Partial truth lies
The serpent knows this better than anyone, and though he can’t pluck us from the Father’s hand, he can certainly rob us of our joy. When the serpent beguiled Eve, he initiated to her with a partial truth by not mentioning the consequence of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1). She responded back with a partial truth by adding to God’s commandment, saying both her and Adam were not even supposed to touch the tree (Genesis 3:3). A partial truth is a lie, and we know the serpent to be the father of all lies in John 8:44.
Eve faced with partial truth
When the devil lies to us, it works the opposite direction from the faith produced by Truth. In 1 John 2:16, the lie appeals to our senses and emotions, working its way from the outside in: body, then soul, then spirit. Eve saw that the tree was good for food, was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise (Gen. 3:6). She had no chance to resist, and it all started with a partial truth.
Beat the lie
I guess what I’m trying to say to you guys is this: as Bible college students, your adversary the devil, is a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He will lie to you in many ways, appeal to you through all sorts of mediums, and tell you that you’re a worthless sinner who means nothing in the grand scheme of God’s plan. But the Truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ prays for each and every one of you, and He has chosen you before the foundation of the world (Luke 22:32, Hebrews 7:25, Ephesians 1:4).
When the devil initiates to you, you have the power to answer a lie with the truth and stop it dead in its tracks.
When the serpent hits you with wisdom that is earthy, sensual, and devilish, you can hit him back with wisdom from above that’s pure, peaceable, gentle, and much much more (James 3:15-17)! When he tells you that you’re in Bible college by mistake, you can tell him that you are called with a holy calling according to God’s purpose in 2 Timothy 1:9. And when he tells you that your past decisions and life disqualify you from the present and His presence, you can remind him that you are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and forgetting those things behind to press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
Stand in Truth
Remember that when all is said and done, the devil can only hurt your heel, but you can crush his head (Genesis 3:15). Let the truth dwell richly in you this Fall 2017 semester of Bible college. Don’t give the devil a chance (Ephesians 4:27)! Have a great semester, and please pray for Malawi! by Mat Gehret, MBCS practicum student in Malawi