"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." - Ephesians 6:10-12
"Fimran and his family are from the Punjab state of North India. The majority of the people in Punjab are Sikhs and Hindus. Fimran’s family is very orthodox Hindus. He lost his mother several years ago and his father Buta Ram is staying with them. They were Hindus and believed in hundreds and hundreds of gods and goddesses," our mission partner reported.
In a place like North India, Fimran's story is probably all too normal. According to PewForum.org, approximately 6,373,040,000 people will be either Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, folk/other, or religiously unaffiliated by 2050. When compared to the projected population of the world in 2050 (9,307,190,000 people), that is roughly 68% or almost 7 out of every 10 people who will not follow Jesus Christ.
Is there anything as devastating as this prediction?
Spiritual warfare is real. Each and every day, people are led astray by idolatry and false-teaching--away from our gracious and loving Lord. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4, "In their case, the god of this world (satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." There is another reality around us that we do not see, a battlefield of light and darkness vying for and against each soul that walks the earth.
IDES was recently blessed with the opportunity to sponsor a Bible College Preaching Program in 4 North Indian States. Essentially, the program is designed to teach and train young church leaders to share the Gospel effectively in a variety of contexts through real-life spiritual opportunities and conversations in the community lead by more experience church leaders.
"We visited several hundreds of Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs and other religious people in their houses, farms, streets and work places. God enabled us to distribute hundreds and hundreds of Bibles, thousands of tracts, and Gospel portions," our partner said.
The fight had begun.
"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." - 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
As the preaching team approached Fimran's house, they knew it was a practicing Hindu home due to the many images of idols posted around and inside it. This man and his family had bought completely into the culture's predominant belief system, unaware of the One True God. Darkness had ahold of this home.
"They allowed us to come in and we spent more than three hours sharing Christ and the saving grace of God; they listened to the Gospel very eagerly. God enabled us to share that Jesus is the ONLY ONE GOD who lives and who loves sinners."
They prayed for Fimran and his family, that evil spirits would be cast out of the home and that they would know that Jesus Christ is Lord. As is often said, prayer is our most powerful weapon in spiritual battles.
"Fimran and his family believed in the Gospel and gave their heart to Jesus. Immediately after they believed in Jesus they decided to take away all the pictures and idols of the gods and goddesses from their prayer room, packed in two big bags and taken to the river far away from their house and thrown into it," our partner said.
Praise God! Who would have thought it would be so easy? Normally when discussing spiritual warfare, our minds travel to the violent images that modern media uses to depict the idea. But with our Lord Jesus, the battle is already won. He fought and achieved victory when He rose from the dead after dying on the cross! And that same power lives within us.
"We asked one of the pastors working in that area to continually teach them the Bible and now they are attending all the worship and prayer meetings of the church regularly. They will be baptized very soon.," our partner said. "Kindly pray for Fimran and his family so that they may be a great witness for our Lord in the future."
IDES is thankful for the opportunity to bless our brothers and sisters around the world who truly are "disciples making disciples." We are in this spiritual fight together. Opportunities to share the Gospel with families like Fimran's would not be possible without your generosity and prayers.
Wormald, Benjamin. "Size and Projected Growth of Major Religious Groups."Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project RSS.
Pew Forum.org, 02 Apr. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.