~ by Andrew Michell ~
When I was in jail the first thing Satan said to me was
“Do not read the Bible.”
Well it was too late. I had just been arrested for kidnapping and armed robbery and was alone in a cell in solitary confinement. There was nothing to read except for the obscenities and gang symbols which former prisoners had written or scratched on the walls of my cell.
After a few days another prisoner walked by my cell and gave me a book to read. It was the Bible. I had to read the Bible. What else could I do? I was in solitary confinement with only that one book. So I read the Bible.
That’s when I heard Satan say to me
“Well if you are going to read the Bible, do not believe any of it.”
Fine, I will not believe it. But you should read some of fantastic stories that the Bible contains! They were so amazing I swear that I was lost in this book and no longer in solitary confinement. Daniel saved out of the lions’ den, the walls of Jericho crumbling, and Jesus resurrected from death.
Then I learned that Matthew, John, and Peter were very real historical figures who really lived and knew Jesus. They were not writing fiction but their own eyewitness testimonies of Jesus’ sufferings, death, and resurrection. They believed so much in what they saw and heard that they were willing to be tortured, imprisoned, and killed rather than be quiet. These eyewitness testimonies were so compelling I began to believe them also!
Satan said “Ok so you believe the Bible, just do not pray.”
Well by now my life was a complete wreck. I was 16 years old in jail for seven kidnappings and armed robberies. This was a time of intense misery and despair as I realized my life was over and there was no hope. I was a high-school-dropout-drug-addict felon. The only future for me was prison and death.
As I read stories in the Bible of God answering prayer and changing peoples’ lives, I found hope. I knelt on the floor of that cell and prayed to God to change my life. He did. He gave me a new heart and new desires. I found peace and freedom as I prayed.
Satan would visit me often in that cell. He persisted, “You are reading the Bible and praying even though I told you not to. I do not think you should do that but I will not stop you. That is okay, just have your own experience with God and do not ever go to church.”
As I continued to read the Bible I found that I was becoming a better person. The Bible was changing me and giving me a desire to give, learn, and help others. I no longer wanted to steal, use drugs, and commit crime. This was so wonderful! I wanted to find others who were also reading the Bible and praying. I wanted to join them. I wanted to benefit from interacting with a community of Bible readers.
Satan was ready of course, “Well fine, it is okay for you to join a church. There are over 33,000 denominations for you to choose from. Choose from any that you like, just do not go to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
In summary, when I learned the truth about the Sabbath Day and the truth about what happens when people die, I decided to become a Seventh-day Adventist. Why? Here is the easiest and simplest answer: Because 10 equals 10 and the dead are dead. Everybody always says “10 commandments” but they only really mean 9. Everybody always says that Mr. SoAndSo is dead but what they actually mean is that Mr. SoAndSo is alive somewhere else. However the Bible says that the dead are dead and that the 10 commandments are 10 commandments.
You-know-who came to me again and sought to persuade me “Hey, you did not need to join a church, especially the SDA church. Anyways just enjoy your faith by yourself and do not share it with anyone.”
Actually it is not that hard to be quiet about your faith. I think I could have succeeded if I only stopped reading the Bible and praying. If I stopped reading the Bible I would have lost perspective on the value of a human soul. Other people would have then become less important and I would not value them as God values them. But God does want all people in every nation to know what great love He has for them.
Listening to Satan this time was impossible. For many years now I had been consistently reading the Bible and praying every day. This interaction with God’s Word had so dramatically changed my life that people who knew me previously were asking me how my life had changed. When I shared how God had helped me so much other people wanted the same thing. How could I withhold something that been such a benefit to my life, my family and community?
Now Satan really started to plead with me, he really urged me “Ok you are sharing your faith with people at home. That’s good and you should just do only that. But do not ever, I repeat, do not ever go to an area of the world where is Christ is not known and share what you know about Jesus. Do not show any interest whatsoever in foreign missions.”
In the Bible is an interesting story about the disciples of Jesus asking the question about the end of the world. Jesus then tells them specifically in Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” Jesus then commands his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 to go into all the world and share the good news and teach others about Jesus.
How amazing! It is God’s will that everybody has access to the gospel to learn about God’s love for all of humanity. All people everywhere should have opportunity to learn about Jesus. It is the express will of God. When I learned here that 2.9 billion people are still without access to the gospel I became motivated to be involved. This is what God wants. How could I live any other way?
Satan said “Ok Andrew you are involved with foreign missions, but don’t encourage anyone else to be involved.”
This time I thought about what Satan said. Why should I not tell anyone else about foreign missions? Because when every nation and every people group has access to the gospel then Jesus will return with power and great glory. When Jesus returns all sickness, war, rape, crime, evil, corruption, pain, and suffering will come to an end. Satan will remain in power as long as foreign missions are ignored. Suffering, war, and evil continue because missions do not.
Organized religion is the greatest blessing to humanity. God has organized the believers of the Bible into an organized church to take the gospel in a very organized way to unreached people groups. That is the overall plan and purpose for the church. God brought the church together to do this work well so that nobody in this generation anywhere in the world need be ignorant of Jesus.
The results of sharing? Just recently I met a man in SE Asia who said to me “Because of your example I have brought my family here to share Jesus with the unreached.”
And Satan? Well I just heard him say the other day “Ok you did not listen to me and you have motivated people at home to be involved in missions…but whatever you do, please do not publish any of this.”
Andrew Michell, who has worked for many years as a full-time Missionary in Thailand. A book has been written about his incredible life story and amazing transformation. It can be found at the Adventist Book Center and is titled, “Convicted!“. Andrew has visited the Jesus For Asia studio before, has been on MissionTV (Episode March 31, 2014) and has spoken at Southern Adventist University.