Imagine you are about to move to a new area. Not just a new location, but a whole new part of the world—surrounded by a new culture and new faces, and without any familiar friends or contacts.
Besides the personal, emotional challenges of such a move there would obviously be some significant spiritual challenges to anticipate. Whatever spiritual habits you have in place will be changed or challenged; the fellow Christians by whom you’ve been encouraged and to whom you’ve been accountable won’t be nearby to help you.
This theoretical case, in many ways, was an actual reality for a fellow church member and friend of mine not long ago. He was moving back to China in order to finish the PhD he moved to the U.S. to work toward.
“Isolation is the playground of the devil, it is very important to keep contact with other members in one body.”
Although he is from China, he had never before lived in China as a Christian. Through God’s grace, and the gospel with which he came into contact here in the States, this young man had become a believer in Jesus Christ. With his departure soon approaching, several of his close Christian friends tried to show him extra love and give an extra “gospel shot” in the arm.
“God’s Word is my weapon to fight with the devil.”
When one such friend sent him an email to remind him of the difficulty of maintaining his Christian faith in a different cultural context, I was very touched and deeply impressed by this young man’s reply, excerpts of which I share with you below by his permission:
I will be going to a pagan world: China… I hope when I walk through my whole life’s road, I will be able to boldly say as Paul said: I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept my faith. Our God is a faithful God, an amazing God, a gracious God. Nothing is impossible in Him. There are several things I will do daily to keep my faith when I am in China:
1) Hide God’s words in my heart. Psalms 119:11. This is my weapon to fight with the devil.
2) Live a prayerful life. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
3) Love God, love others. Isolation is the playground of the devil, it is very important to keep contact with other members in one body. So I will find a church in China and worship God with others.
4) Endure in sufferings. There might be some trials in China, but we know, blessed is the one who stands firm, the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).
5) Examine myself daily. Jesus said, whoever wants to be my disciple would deny himself, take the cross daily and follow me.
Our sinful nature makes us unable to enter the kingdom of God by our efforts, and it is because of our sinful nature that we always forget God, forget what Jesus did for us: He paid it all for our sins by His blood. So now we can put off the old self and put on the new one…always remembering God’s amazing grace: I was lost but now I am found.