But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, – Galatians 5:22
Day 18: Self-Control
In describing the Christian’s helmet, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, “…let us be self-controlled, putting on the faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” The best armor you can give a soldier is the kind that cannot be destroyed by the enemy.
Iran – Maheen’s husband had been in prison for several months when she began to fear the same fate for herself. She began to pray, “Dear Lord, I am not ready to go into prison because of my Christian faith. Please don’t test me beyond my ability.” She knew that she would not be able to handle being arrested, fearing that she might reveal the names of believers, or worse, deny Jesus.
Three days later, the secret police knocked at her door. As Maheen slowly walked down the stairs to answer the door she argued with God, “I have already asked you not to put me in this situation, so whatever happens, it is not my fault.” Blindfolded, they placed her in solitary confinement. “I was scared to death and felt sick,” recalls Maheen. “But then I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit. I felt God’s peace and my fears went away.”
The next day she was brought before the high official where she courageously testified of her Christian faith. “It is an honor for me to tell you about Jesus and salvation too.” The official responded in anger, “Do you know the consequence of this? You can’t evangelize. It will cost you a heavy charge.” Maheen replied, “If I don’t share the truth with you, I will be accountable to God. Therefore I can’t keep silent.”
The following day she was again brought before the official. Sensing the power of the Holy Spirit, she boldly shared Jesus with him. That night she had trouble sleeping. Tossing and turning she was alarmed when the official visited her in the cell. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “I believe God sent you to this prison so that you can share about Jesus and salvation with me.” Maheen talked and prayed with him for three hours; in the end he repented and accepted Jesus. A few days later, she was released from prison.
Over the month of August, Open Doors ministry has a special mission they are encouraging all to partake in. “During the month of Ramadan, from August 1-30, 2011, Open Doors is calling on Christians in the West to pray for Christians living in Islamic dominated countries… praying specifically for God to fill and strengthen them with the ‘Fruit of the Spirit.’ This ‘fruit’ embodied in each believer; molds, shapes and transforms us – expressing the image of His Son. And through this image, shining through a believer, God draws people to salvation.”
I signed up for their daily prayer emails for this mission. Each day, they send an account of a Christian who is living in Islamic-dominated countries. I pray this will help us to remember to pray for those who are ministering to hearts in foreign countries with the gospel.
“Open Doors works in the world’s most oppressive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ’s light in these dark places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians by supplying Bibles, training Christian leaders, developing Christian communities and ensuring prayer, presence and advocacy for these suffering believers.” (www.OpenDoorsUSA.org)