What does it mean to do whatever it takes?
Fighting human trafficking, or any injustice, can seem like a huge, daunting task. It is a huge task, but the good news is we have a HUGE God! A God that is bigger than the evil and injustice in this world. The following devotional is meant to light a fire within you. Over the next five days, you will wrestle with some tough questions and be prompted to action. When you might be tempted to say, “there’s nothing I can do”, we challenge you to instead ask, “God, what will you have me do?”
Start here and let God open your heart to what He has for you next. We are glad you are on this journey with us. The world needs more abolitionists – people willing to do whatever it takes, to bring freedom to those who are hurting. Are you ready to get started?
Rescue. Where Freedom Begins.
As followers of Christ, the act of being rescued is deeply personal. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus gave His life to rescue us. He saved us from the horrific grip of death and brought us true freedom through His work on the cross.
This radical act of love is what drives us to rescue those who are being trafficked. With over 40 million people living in slavery today, there are more slaves now than at any point in human history. This requires action. We need abolitionists – people willing and able to fight for the oppressed and exploited. And you already have what it takes! The freedom we have in Christ empowers and equips us to help those in desperate need of saving. God went to great lengths to rescue us, so we go to great lengths to rescue others.
Rescue is not always breaking down doors or calling in the cavalry. It comes in many forms. Rescue can look like confronting addictive behavior, connecting a person with resources to change an unhealthy situation or building a life-giving relationship. Through Christ, we can become a catalyst in doing for others what they cannot do for themselves.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.-Psalm 18:17 (NIV)
Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.-Psalm 44:26 (NIV)
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.-Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.-2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV)
- The women and girls being sold for sex every night and for their rescue.
- The success of organizations, governments, investigators, and rescue teams working on the ground to free those being trafficked.
- Justice and mercy to prevail! That traffickers would be thwarted and evil would be stamped out.
- Have you been rescued from something that was hurting you?
- What has freedom looked like in your life? What has freedom felt like?
- What do you think living as an abolitionist looks like?
- Ask God how you can bring freedom to those who need it most. What do you hear Him say? Write it down. We’ll come back to that later this week.
Relentless love. The path to healing.
While the road to healing looks different for every person, we believe that true healing occurs through the relentless, unconditional love of Christ. Knowing that you are loved, that you belong, and that you have a purpose (Matthew 3:16-17) catalyzes the process. When His abundant love permeates our lives, we become conduits of His love, and restoration begins.
The healing process can be challenging and complex. Feelings of anxiety, fear, shock, doubt, anger, sadness and grief are often part of the process. Whether you are the one healing, or are supporting someone else’s healing, remember that your ability to engage in the healing process is connected to your proximity to Jesus. We cannot give what we have not experienced. The closer we are to Him, the more healing we can receive and give others.
You can support those on the road to healing by living out the love of Christ in tangible ways – through listening, serving, supporting, empowering and equipping, just to name a few. Remember, the love of Christ takes on human form when we, as Christians, live it out.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!-2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.-Romans 6:4 (NIV)
- Christ’s love to heal the emotional and physical trauma that survivors have endured.
- Survivors to live freely with love, purpose, and belonging.
- Eyes that would see needs around you and the heart to show up to meet them.
- What is your story of healing?
- How have you been impacted by the relentless love of God?
- Write out how you can “show up” with the love of Christ for a hurting person in your life? Be specific.
Never Trafficked Again.
Understanding the truth about God’s love for us is empowering. He is for us. He has a plan for us. He wants to unleash freedom in our lives. When we allow this truth to sink into the depths of who we are, we walk with confidence and purpose.
This same truth is crucial in empowering survivors to embrace and own their own freedom. God’s truth can break the bondage of slavery forever. Knowing their worth and value in Christ is the first step. We strive to help survivors understand that they are deeply loved children of God. That they have a purpose. That the same power that raised Christ lives in them.
Then, we empower and equip survivors with practical life skills. Goal setting, safe employment and sustainable income play a pivotal role in empowering survivors to become active change makers in their communities. Putting these newly formed skills to work continues the healing work God is doing in their lives and the lives of those around them.
When survivors become abolitionists, the enslaved become free. Never to be trafficked again.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.-Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.-1 John 3:1 (NIV)
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.-Romans 8:11 (NIV)
- Survivors to be transformed by Christ’s relentless love and empowered in freedom.
- Healthy reintegration of survivors as they implement the skills they’ve learned.
- God’s truth to take root in your life and mobilize you to walk in His confidence and freedom.
- How does hearing that God wants to unleash freedom in your life make you feel?
- What passions begin to well up in you as you grasp that your worth comes from who God says you are?
- Write down your unique set of skills.
- How can you use your skill set to empower someone else towards freedom?
- What organizations can you begin to serve with, give to or share about?
Every Child Deserves a Childhood.
God is our protector. God is our defender. And because we are made in His image, His heart to stand for the marginalized and exploited is written into each one of us. Through His Spirit, living in us, we are equipped to protect those around us.
The best way to combat trafficking is to prevent it before it starts. Thus, AIM is committed to doing whatever it takes to prevent this evil from happening in the first place. We prevent the exploitation of future generations by confronting the demand for purchased sex and protecting the vulnerable.
As you look around and notice the vulnerabilities that exist in your community and the world, seek to understand the root causes of these vulnerabilities. Consider volunteering with an organization who is serving those most at risk. Or join your church in addressing the issues that contribute to the demand.
When you commit to preventing exploitation and protecting the vulnerable, you are pushing back the darkness and taking a stand against the greatest evil of our lifetime!
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.-Psalm 9:9 (NIV)
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.-Psalm 82:3 (NIV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.-Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)
- The Church to confront the demand for purchased sex and to obliterate the culture and practice of pornography (find more resources on this matter here).
- Vulnerable children and families to have the support, provision, and education needed to protect them from exploitation and that innocence would be guarded.
- God to grow your awareness of the vulnerabilities that exist in your community and in the world.
- How have you experienced someone else protecting you and standing up for you? How did that make you feel?
- What areas of your church or local non-profit could you begin to serve with?
- What actions can you take this week towards ensuring the vulnerable in your community are protected?
“I didn’t want to face God and tell him it was too difficult to act.”– Bridget Brewster
AIM’s founders, Don and Bridget Brewster, faced significant obstacles when they set out to begin aftercare work in Cambodia. They were aware of the issue and the needs but were unqualified according to the experts. It would have been easy to allow what they didn’t know to derail God’s call. They had a decision to make.
How often do we find ourselves in similar situations? We become aware of an issue but disqualify ourselves from taking action because we feel inadequate. We convince ourselves that someone else with more knowledge or experience should step up because the solution seems greater than our capabilities. It’s easy to take ourselves out of the fight before we’ve even started.
Here’s the thing: Don’t underestimate what God will do with a “yes.”
This week, we’ve grown in our awareness of human trafficking. We’ve also seen how God partners with us to push against the darkness. It’s easy to find ourselves paralyzed by the immensity of human trafficking. But God is not deterred, nor should we be. God is on the move and He’s inviting us to join him. All it takes is your yes.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’-Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV)
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.-Matthew 5:42 (NIV)
- High-risk countries to be transformed by the anti-trafficking work being done and to invest in future generations to eradicate trafficking.
- The body of Christ to be activated and mobilized in the Spirit to fight trafficking on all fronts.
- The courage to speak out against oppression, to take action and to fight for freedom.
- What obstacles have you placed in your own way?
- Each day you’ve had reflection questions to help determine what action steps you could take in this fight. Go back over your answers. What patterns are emerging? What might God be asking you to say “yes” to?
- What does living as an abolitionist look like now?
- What are 2-3 action steps you will take in the next month?
Congratulations! You’re an abolitionist! The reality is, you already had the spirit of an abolitionist within you . However, by working through this devotional, you have taken a vital step in choosing a life that lets this abolitionist spirit take hold and change the world. Over the past five days, you have chewed on some tough questions and we are guessing that you have gotten some answers. Whether it be a nudge toward a certain action or a straight up call to a life-mission, pay attention to what God has said these past five days and the emotions that have stirred. Don’t let these feelings sit. At His core, Jesus was an abolitionist. That same Spirit lives in you. What are you going to do with it?