Good Missionary/Bad Missionary

Truth and Lies

Do you ever wonder if you are being a “good missionary?”  Many times I have experienced a sort of clash going on in my heart. The first player in this battle is the fact that I love God and greatly desire to serve Him and to show His goodness to others.  I know that by His strength He has fully enabled me to do this.  I’ve experienced it! The second player is a quiet but persuasive negative voice that tries to convince me that  I am not making a difference and that somehow I am a “bad missionary.” I think this is a battle that goes on in the minds of all Christian workers and all Christians in general at some point, and I have seen that Satan has even reserved some unique lies specifically for us as mothers.

On days when I am clearly hearing the voice of God in what I do, I know that loving my family, serving my team, and making efforts to be a light to those in the community around me are truly pleasing to God. He gives me assurance that my work as a wife and mother is the most meaningful and influential ministry that I will ever have. He encourages me that the efforts that I put forth to get to know and care for people in our community bring Him glory. He fulfills me as I speak of His  goodness with others, whether they accept Him or even if not. He gives me joy in serving the team that God has surrounded me with as my second family here on the field.

Then there are the times when I feel like the lies are louder than the Truth. I feel like I am “just” a mom and wish that I could “do more,” as if there were more important things than loving my children and leading them toward Christ. I feel discouraged at how long it takes to build relationships with  people in our community and wonder if I am wasting my time, when in reality I should be thankful for these forming friendships and be patient as God grows them. I get upset with myself about how bad my Russian is and wonder how anything that I say could truly be used by God, as if I were the one responsible to change their heart anyway, and as if God were not able to make even rocks cry out to make Himself known. I seek to love and serve my team and others around me, and then I second guess myself and wonder if there would have been something else that would have better met their needs.

Praise God that He doesn’t leave any doubt in our minds about which of these players in this battle are true. Praise God that He tells us exactly who Satan is and how he works:

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” – John 8: 44b

I am not sure if you have experienced this battle in your own life recently, but as I process through this myself, I wanted to encourage you for the time that this battle does show up. God does loves us. We can please Him. He does call us to do His will and fully enables us for the task. He does use us as His instruments for righteousness. Doing works to prove ourselves will never please God, but rather being faithful to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves is plenty to bring Him glory. We are being sanctified and we are all very much works in progress, and God is ok with this. He is pleased with our growth as we rely on Him, and doesn’t ask us to be or do anything other than what He has ordained for the time.

Clearly we are to examine our hearts and actions to make sure we are following the Lord and relying on His strength alone, but we can so often fall into the trap of listening to lies and trying to do more as if we could ever make ourselves more righteous before God by adding to what He has already done.

Have you experienced this battle in your own heart? What lies do you feel are the easiest for you to succumb to? What has helped you to recognize these lies and counteract them?

(posted by: Ashley)


5 Responses to “Good Missionary/Bad Missionary”

  1. 1 Shilo September 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for your honesty. When we lived in Veneuzela, I volunteered at a secular orphanage. I often questioned what in the world I was doing there. In four years, I really didn’t see any change to speak because of going. But at the same time, I heard God’s voice so clearly that I just needed to go. That the fruit was not up to me. So I kept going. I still don’t know what difference it made, but I know I was obedient. I guess that’s what this walk is really all about anyway, right?
    Bless you sister!

  2. 2 Addie September 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I struggle with this often and it was a good reminder to hear that mostly it’s lies from the enemy and not a holy conviction from the Lord. Thank you for your honesty Ashley.

  3. 3 Ana September 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I also battle with this, specially at time when I feel that people question my motives for wanting to stay with my daughter all the time instead of being hands on in the Missions Field.

    I start feeling like there’s so much more I could be doing even when I have a tight schedule and I’m already feeling tired.

    I often pray that God will lead me and that we’d allow me to do the good things “He” wants me to do, that He’d be my only source and guidance.

    Thank you for talking about this, I’ve never talked about it with anyone.

    Blessings and Hugs

  4. 4 Jami Gustafson October 1, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Oh, yes, I often feel like a BAD MISSIONARY!! Thanks for the good reminders. I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between conviction and guilt lately and how Satan wants to pile on the guilt. God is very gentle and loving when He convicts. Satan is the author of confusion and loves to feed us lies!! May we listen to God’s voice- the voice of Truth!

  5. 5 gloriadelia March 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    And don’t forget that moms have a built-in harvest field. It might not be as glamorous, and sometimes smell a little funny, depending on how long since the diapers have been changed, but they are our little disciples.

    Your post was linked to mine today by WordPress. 🙂

    Stop by anytime for encouragement. Gloris

    p.s. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

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