United States (MNN) — When we think of missionaries, we picture people who are bringing the Gospel of peace to those who have yet to hear about Jesus. Very rarely do we remember these servants as warriors on the front line of a spiritual battle. But as we learned from Set Free Ministries in a recent conversation, the risks of this work are real and always present.
It makes sense that a bigger monster requires better preparation and equipment to defeat. But what many people miss is that it also takes an accurate definition of who the enemy is. That’s what makes spiritual warfare so tricky. We often ascribe to the physical realm what is actually a spiritual struggle.
Pete Noor of Set Free Ministries shares his own background, an example of how the daily struggles we face can be a reflection of what’s going on inside of us.
About 20 years ago, he met Dean Vander Mey, the executive director of Set Free. The two played golf together at a nonprofit event year-after-year. When Vander Mey sold his business to work full time at Set Free, Noor got to hear wonderful stories of people being rescued from things like addiction or depression. He had never heard of a ministry quite like Set Free.
“During this same time, I had started treating for depression, anxiety, fear, things like that through medications and counseling.”
Noor also tried a different diet and exercise, anything that might help, but nothing did. Eventually when things hit rock bottom, he called Vander Mey up. At Set Free, Noor learned how to incorporate God’s truths into his fight against depression. You see, Set Free was the first place that helped him address the deeper spiritual battle that was going on.
As Noor continued to learn more about spiritual bondage, he realized that Christians everywhere are in this spiritual battle and they don’t even know it. Noor became part of the Set Free team so he could help others facing similar struggles.
Challenges for Set Free
If you’re even slightly aware of what is happening on the mission field here and abroad, you certainly know there are many challenges facing people doing God’s work. Set Free is perhaps even more conscious of this fact.
Noor says, “Being at the tip of the spear, it means you’re pretty much at the front line in the spiritual battle that’s going on. So, there are challenges with that.”
He says working at Set Free has certainly made life more intense. Because he sees multiple examples of how the enemy traps people, he has his guard up all the time against those attacks. But some of the biggest challenges are logistical. For instance, the sheer number of people needing help is astonishing, and yet there are very few ministries like Set Free to help.
Noor says, “One of the challenges is just the burden you feel to help so many people, and the challenge is setting maybe sometimes proper boundaries because you can be absolutely overwhelmed if you’re not careful, and yet, you want to be available.”
On the flip side of the spiritual and physical risks of this work is the ability to witness the beautiful stories of transformation God is bringing about through His Word.
“The rewards are seeing people who were previously hopeless, with eyes clearly indicating desperation, and leaving (after we’ve worked with them) with hope and encouragement and a joy. They may not be immediately well, but we see a lot of people who experience tremendous healing.”
One of the things counselees are reminded of at Set Free is they are fighting from victory, not for victory. What that means is their freedom and forgiveness have already been won in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The counseling at Set Free helps them remember the truths of the Gospel and put them into practice.
“You know, when Jesus said the Truth will set you free, that is a lot more literal than people realize. When we can speak truth into people’s lives and we can unearth, uproot the lies that many people have believed, that’s huge, and that’s very rewarding,” Noor explains.
Will you please pray for God’s protection and guidance over this team as they continue to serve?
In the next few days, you’ll also learn more about the needs that Set Free addresses, and different ways you can help. Also coming soon, a look at true forgiveness in the most unlikely of situations. For more information on Set Free, click here.