Devotional: "Fearlessness to Witness in War Zones"
In the heart of conflict and chaos, where the shadow of war looms large, lies a profound calling for Christians – to be fearless witnesses of Christ. Let us anchor in the wisdom of Matthew 10:28 as we seek to explore and inspire the courage needed for Christians to testify to the hope and truth of the Gospel. May your mind fixate on the physical war we see worldwide and the spiritual one, which rages both mentally and physically.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). This verse sets the foundation for our understanding of fearlessness in witnessing. Matthew calls us to shift our focus from the temporary and physical to the eternal and spiritual, reminding us that our ultimate allegiance and accountability are to God. Jesus states in Matthew 6, “Do not consider your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…don’t you know your father in heaven knows everything you need?” This call is to abandon control of earthly outcomes by considering our eternal life more important than the here and now.
To witness for Christ in a war zone is to embrace a boldness that defies human logic. Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8 both state that God is the same always and never changes. This fearlessness is not a denial of danger but an acknowledgment of a greater purpose. It is the courage to speak truth and show love in the face of hostility, knowing that our lives are held securely in God's hands, beyond the reach of any earthly threat. Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
They say there are no atheists in foxholes. In January of 2004, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, one of my fellow Soldiers stated, “Sergeant, I almost died today in an explosion. I don’t believe in God, but I see you reading the Bible; you enter into enemy houses fearlessly. What is it about you that you are not afraid to die?” I responded, “Private, it is not death that we should be afraid of; rather, what happens after that causes me to tremble.” I proceeded to share that I was praying for his safety that morning and believed God kept him from perishing that day. He received Jesus as his Savior shortly after. In the quiet communion with God, we find strength and peace that surpass human understanding. Through prayer, we align our hearts with God’s will, drawing upon His infinite power and wisdom to navigate the complexities of conflict physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Fearlessness in witnessing goes beyond words through powerful, demonstrated acts of compassion and service. The practical demonstration of Christ’s love can be as profound as any sermon in war zones, where suffering is rampant. In August of 2003, I arrived at a local house in Baghdad, Iraq, engulfed in flames due to an attack by RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades). The house's mother yelled in Arabic, “My baby is still in the house.” I had a choice to save my own life or have the fearlessness to witness in action beyond words. At that moment, I removed my ammunition and weapons from my body to run into the burning building and retrieve the child for this Iraqi woman whom I did not know. Shortly after, I was able to share the love of Christ through the gospel with this Muslim woman about why I risked my life for her and her baby.
Living out the teachings of Christ amidst turmoil is a beacon of hope and stability that shows our faith is not swayed by circumstances but is anchored in the unchanging nature of God. Scripture contains examples of individuals who displayed remarkable courage in facing danger. From Daniel in the lion’s den to Stephen facing martyrdom, these stories encourage and challenge us to stand firm in our faith, regardless of our surroundings.
One of the most comforting assurances for Christians in war zones is the promise of God’s presence. Jesus’ words, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), offer immense comfort and courage. Knowing God is with us in every challenge encourages us to be fearless witnesses.
Today's writing is a call to embrace the fearlessness that comes from a deep trust in God. Christians in war zones face unique and challenging mission fields. Their calling is to witness not in safety and comfort but danger and uncertainty. Yet, it is precisely in these settings that the light of Christ shines brightest.
As you go about your day, let us be encouraged to look beyond this world's fears and focus on our witness's eternal impact. Let us pray for and support our brothers and sisters in conflict zones so they may be emboldened to share the Gospel with fearlessness and love. In doing so, they demonstrate the extraordinary power of a faith that overcomes fear and brings light to the darkest places.
Pray with me as Jeremiah prayed in verses 10:23-24.
“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure–not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing.”
Father, we ask for direction, vision, and increased faith as we walk in step with Your Holy Spirit, causing us to walk in fearlessness. Father, grant those in the current war zones fearlessness to witness and change the nations for You, Jesus.
Rev. Jeffrey Walsh
Ministry Director, CU Lux (Yale University)
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