We meet each morning as a family and study God's Word. For the past few weeks we have been in the Old Testament and a while back we began reading through the book of Joshua. We've been learning the past few days about Israel's attempt to capture the city of Ai.
You may recall that God's people were forbidden from taking any of the valuables from Jericho when they captured the city. However, Achan took a robe and some silver and gold. He hid the items in the ground, but he could not hide his heart from God. With this sin, Achan caused Israel to lose their most powerful weapon: pure hearts.
His sin affected his whole nation. They were whipped like the Ole Miss football team playing Alabama during their first attempt to conquer Ai. Then, Achan's sin was exposed, dealt with (harshly), and the people of God were able to take the city of Ai. And, God gave them the possessions of Ai just to mess with our minds.
There are lessons here for a missionary. God has empowered us with all we need to carry the light of the gospel to the nations. God has given us His Word as the best tool for battle. He has empowered us with the Holy Spirit to guide us, reveal to us words to speak, and fill us with strength for the battle. But if we focus only on the external assignment before us we ignore the internal work that must be done...in our own hearts. It's always much more enjoyable to determine the strategy to reach the lost than it is to determine the deficiencies in our own spiritual condition.
We are mistaken if we think the missionary task is to only make disciples of the nations. The first task of a missionary is to 'discipline' his or her own heart; to remain 'discipled' as we disciple others. Do you think the Enemy convinces me that I am responsible for the lostness of the whole world so that I will ignore the 'deficiencies' I have buried in my own tent? I wonder if the Deceiver uses the responsibility of managing a team of missionaries to cause me to put aside managing my own spiritual condition? I must remember that God must always be conquering "I" before I can be used to conquer Ai. A pure heart is the most important missionary weapon.