Fighting the Good Fight
Any band or artist concerned with souls will be carrying a spiritual burden. Any band or artist sharing Jesus and praying for conversion and transformation will be entering a spiritual battle. The fight is real. If you’re in this more for your art or “making it” as a band, then you don’t need to worry about that. You might get naturally tired, but it’s nothing like the spiritual burden and battle you enter when you step into enemy territory to proclaim the good news.
Recently on tour, I dreamt that lions attacked our team in the street, and we narrowly escaped in our tour vans. As a team we had been studying 1 Peter, so immediately the passage in 1 Peter 5:8 came to mind: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I shared with the team that I thought God was reminding us of the spiritual battle we were in and that we should be alert and pray for protection.
That night we were attacked by a mob of hooligans at our show in Zurich (Switzerland). They had started in small numbers, coming to the stage demanding we close down our show. While I shared the message from the stage, one tried to reach and grab my leg, and another attacked a member of the audience. I continued to preach, and around 20 people responded and prayed with us.
By the time we were packing down the mob had grown to over 50 hooligans, now huddling together about 20 meters from our stage, planning their attack. Then the most amazing thing happened. The mob marched across the square straight at us, but miraculously they walked straight past us. They walked through the middle of our equipment and team, and as we expected them to turn on us they just kept walking to the other side of the square as if we were invisible.
Soon the riot police arrived, and a full blown violent riot between the mob and the police broke out. We managed to get away in our vans unharmed, realizing the miraculous protection of God we had just experienced. Watching this mob of hooligans, walk straight through us, seemed parallel to the angels of God closing the mouths of lions for Daniel. God had given us warning that danger was coming, but that He was in control and would protect us.
In the face of spiritual battle Peter instructs us to be self-controlled and alert. As missionaries in the art and music scene, we need to be alert and be aware of our purpose and what the cost is. It means sharing the spiritual burden of caring for people’s souls. It means taking prayer seriously, both in your private life and as a community. I need a network of people praying for me, and I need to bring the band or team I work with together for regular prayer and encouragement in the Word. I need to ask God for his heart and guidance in every situation, that He would give me His perspective.
But being self-controlled and alert also means having my heart right before God, and setting the right priorities:
It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only to be well pleasing to Him… My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound? (Oswald Chambers, My utmost for His highest)
I’ve personally been faced with this challenge recently. I felt called by God to step away from a responsibility and ministry that was important to me; so that I could prioritize caring for my family and spending time in prayer. On one hand, this is a difficult thing to do, but on the other, prioritizing being with Jesus and caring for the family he gave me is the greatest joy I’ve ever known. I know that when He gives me the next challenge or when I face the next battle, I will only stand firm if my heart is right and pleasing to Him.
Our aim must be to please Jesus, above all. Pleasing Jesus means knowing Him and having our hearts right before him. And in Him, we will have the strength to fight the good fight.