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New love, old habits–and ants

The Dao people are absorbing rich, life-changing truth about walking the trail of Jesus.

The voice of Peotomaa sounded out loud and clear through the ranks of the village Bible class. He was reading the Dao translation of Galatians 5:24-25:

Concerning those of us who now belong to Yesusi, our old spirit along with its desires to only do wrong again and again, has been nailed to the crossed wood along with Yesusi. Just as Yesusi was put to death, so has our old spirit been put to death. So now … we live in the new Spirit of our Creator … let us also be guided by His Spirit and walk along His trail and in His footprints. Let us walk just as He walked!

As Peotomaa finished his reading and sat down, Scott Phillips asked the attentive listeners gathered for Dao Bible study, “What do you think that these verses mean for us people that live here in the Dao valley? If it is really true that the old spirit that once controlled us has really been nailed to the crossed wood along with Yesusi and we have now been set free to live in a new way and walk along a new trail in the footsteps of Yesusi, how will we walk?”

Debatoma was the first to speak up. “Well, if we have been set free from the old trail, doesn’t that mean we have also been set free from the old ways? Doesn’t it mean that we no longer have to listen to the evil spirit Satan that used to control us in the past? I think we are free to walk as Yesusi walked, in a way different than we used to walk.”

Daapoi jumped in and added, “The new Spirit of our Creator is so much greater … no one is greater than Him. It’s like when we go down to the lowlands and see a big string of those nice big ants that we like to eat. There are so many of them, but we are so much bigger and stronger that we just walk over and step on them with our bare feet and they are dead. Then we cook them and eat them.”

His friend, Yoni, agreed and added, “It was as if Yesusi in His death for us walked over His enemies … like a long string of ants and He took away the power they once had … and laid out a new trail for us with His feet at the same time!”

Another student, Uubeo, spoke up. “That’s right! And now because of the work of Yesusi, we are free to walk along His good trail, even though we could not walk along that trail in the past.”

Scott asked in conclusion to the Bible class, “So thanks to the work of Yesusi, we are no longer held captive by the old ways?”

The little gathering of Dao Bible students smiled and nodded in agreement at the awesome truth. A truth they had just heard from Galatians in their own language for the very first time.

Scott shares a favourite quote from Jonathan Edwards: “A new love is stronger than an old habit.”

In Dao lives, there is visible evidence of the new love for God’s Word triumphing over old ways. “God is doing neat things here as we daily study His Word together with the Dao people,” he continues.

And there is another amazing effect. Scott is in wonder of the way that God uses His truth to minister to those who are hearing it for the first time. But equally by His Spirit, God uses His Word to minister deeply to the missionaries as they share it.

“Not only do they seem to be growing in their faith and rejoicing in the new truths that they are hearing, but so are we … as we translate Scripture into their language, study these truths and then teach them to the Dao people.”

The power of God’s Word applied by His Spirit ignites holy passion in its hearers. A new, dynamic, life-changing love that, on many levels, is visibly stronger than old habits.

Just think of stepping on a trail of ants.

Posted in Asia-Pacific, Dao People, News, Prayer Requests