When I take on a challenge I’m “all in.”
Such as been the case since I took over the leadership of your state Baptist newspaper nine years ago.
Being “all in” for me means being totally and completely focused and committed to the cause, working hard and doing everything necessary to bring success (1 Cor. 15:58).
I have come to realize that sometimes while being “all in” and doing all the physical work of the ministry that God has called me to do, I can sometimes miss the bigger picture of what God wants to do with me spiritually.
We can see the aggressive spiritual warfare being waged for the souls of men. All you have to do is survey the landscape of our world to witness the stronghold that the devil has on literally billions of people – a stronghold that leads to utter destruction without the Lord Jesus Christ changing and guiding their lives.
As I reflect on 2019, I see that my biggest struggles and challenges came as a result of the devil attempting to get hold of my life and my ministry amid all the busyness and distractions of my work.
These words penned by Paul to the churches at Corinth and Ephesus give me encouragement, hope and perseverance when it seems the world is attempting to take hold and divert my attention. I pray they do you too.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong…” (1 Cor. 16:13).
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10-12).
Whether you are a pastor, other leader or layperson, we all can be lulled into believing we are somehow immune to the fiery darts of the evil one as we go about our ministries, and wrongfully conclude that we are somehow insulated from defeat and destruction.
Scripture tells us just the opposite. Satan steps up his efforts on believers because he knows that he has already lost our soul, so all he can do is to render us weak spiritually. And when leaders fall, Satan rejoices because it is many times for all to see, and can result in compromising and marginalizing aspects of the work of the Church.
So this year, in the midst of all of our busyness and obligations, my prayer is that all of us strive to stay true to our Christian calling and walk in a manner representative of our confessed faith. For me, the only way I can do this is to equip myself daily through God’s Word and prayer. I know when I neglect God I am not experiencing all that he has in store for my life and ministry, rendering me weak and exposed to Satan’s attacks.
The times in which we live are not for the faint of heart, but rather the bold. You are not doing what you are doing by shear happenstance. God has placed each of you strategically where you are for a purpose. Now is the time for all of us to remain strong in our faith as we go about seeking to make a difference for Jesus Christ while there is still time (Eph. 5:15-16).
That’s my encouragement and challenge for the New Year: for all called out and set apart Arkansas Baptists to bring fame, honor and glory to our Lord – and we owe the Lord no less than our daily faithfulness.
2020 is time to be “all in” for the cause of Christ – both through hard physical work but also hard spiritual work!
Tim Yarbrough is editor/executive director of the ABN.