In Paul’s famous section on “The Armour of God” in Ephesians 6, various parts of the Roman soldier’s equipment were highlighted: the belt, then breastplate, footwear, shield, helmet and sword. Each part symbolized important Biblical qualities: truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation and the divine Word of God, the only item used for attack.
In the earlier section, Paul says our struggle is not against flesh and blood, and then significantly asks for prayer so that he “will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel” (v 19), and this despite being in chains. Gospel proclamation requires prayer because it is a spiritual battle.
Recently my wife and I were at Jewel, Singapore airport’s magnificent attraction. Milling with the crowd at a vantage point looking onto the mesmerising manmade waterfall, many were trying to take a picture of the amazing sight with lush greenery and the inter-terminal train in the background. One young couple were taking each other’s pictures in front of this scene, so I offered to take a shot of both together.
After the snap, I asked where they were from and they said “Bulgaria” after which I asked if they were enjoying their visit. The man was full of praise for the physical environment of SG as well as the breathtaking playground of Jewel. I was going to say that although the nation was indeed impressive, we need God too, but the conversation drifted, and I got distracted. It was only after I walked away from the couple that I realised I had missed a God-sent opportunity to plant a Gospel seed in this couple’s minds. I had not done what Paul had exhorted in Ephesians: speak words of the Gospel to men. After all, how often would I have a chance to proclaim spiritual truth to Bulgarians in Singapore? Sadly it was a missed opportunity.
It is one thing to read the Biblical exhortation to evangelize. It is another thing to be prepared to speak for the Lord in spontaneous situations. It is yet another to accomplish it in a clear, fearless and timely way. No wonder Paul called for prayer to fearlessly make known the Gospel.