I am in a series tracing the mission of God from Genesis through Revelation. This series is not exhaustive, if so I would take a very long time to complete; so my goal is to give a broad overview of the fact that God is on mission to redeem and restore his fallen shattered image-bearers (humanity) as well as the created order. Believers (the church), the shattered image-bearers who have been redeemed, have been called out of the world only to be sent back in on mission. However, although they have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood and substitutionary death on the cross, there still exists a difficulty to live on mission.
The reason being is that full restoration still awaits. In other words, Jesus has redeemed us and is in the process of sanctifying his people, and will one day fully restore their shattered image. Therefore, in the interim, believers (the church) still struggle with their lives being shattered by sin. This struggle raging inside the lives of believers is one not necessarily with individual sins (although that may be the case), but the underlying foundation of human sin—which is the notion of overthrowing God’s lordship and employing our own. Another way of stating that could be: man dethrones God and enthrones self. And it is this attitude and action that Jesus has redeemed believers from and will one day fully restore, but one that believers still struggle with.
Given that this is our struggle and the dilemma, how do we combat this struggle with sin that prohibits us from living mission? Here are five brief answers:
(1) – We must live Spirit-filled lives. Paul expresses in Galatians 5:16, “For I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of flesh.” Think of being filled with the Spirit the same way we fill our gas tanks. We hook our lives to the fuel station of God through prayer, bible intake, community, and obedience. As we attach our lives to the fuel station of God, he fills us with his Spirit and works through us, through his Spirit, to accomplish his plan in the world.
(2) – We must daily and hourly die to ourselves. Jesus preaches that his followers must take up their cross daily if they desire to follow him. Paul echoes this sentiment of dying to self in following Christ when he writes, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). A desire to live on mission for God requires that we die to ourselves, our desires, our wants, our preferences, our goals, our ambitions, and our dreams. We must constantly preach to ourselves that we have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus, and have been sent back in the world with that message, with that hope, with that lifestyle.
(3) –We must constantly ask God if we are loving Him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must constantly ask ourselves if God is pleased with our actions or lack of actions. Just as we seek affirmation from our parents, spouse, teacher, coach, or boss, so too I would say we want affirmation from God that he is pleased with our lives. Think of it this way, when we constantly ask God if we are loving him with everything we have, we are in sense asking him are we being good stewards of the life he has given us. “God am I loving you by the way I engage and interact with my family, my wife, my children?” “God am I loving you by the way I approach and work at my job, my vocation, my school?” “God am I loving you by the way I love my neighbor, the stranger, my acquaintances…?” “God am I loving you by the way I spend my money?” “God am I loving you by the way I spend my time?”
(4) – We must live in a constant state of prayer. This means that we converse with God throughout the day. The constant state of conversing with God happens when we see some one in need and pray for them. It happens when we think of our children and wife and being to converse with God. Constant state of prayer takes place when we are at work and we want to fly off the handle because of our boss or co-worker. Consistently praying ensues when during the conversation with our friend or neighbor we ask God for wisdom and discernment how to answer their questions. Constant prayer comes about as we beg God throughout the day to use us for his glory and for him to makes himself known in our area and around the world.
(5) – We must condition our lives to the understanding that we are on mission, not do mission. Many churches and believers view mission as something we do or go on. We must view our lives as ones who are part of the mission of God, not who go and do mission. Sure we will participate in “mission trips” and mission activity, but we also need to understand that everyday we wake up we are on mission. Therefore, the frequenting of Starbucks, the grocery store, the Friday night date night at Five Guys can become an opportunity for mission. The 30, 40, 50, 60 hour workweek can become a platform for us to be on mission. The hour we have watching our children play ball or practice gymnastics can become a vehicle by which we participate in God’s mission. In other words, we intentionally live on mission in everything we do, from the big things to the small things.
Living on mission is difficult because we are still marred by the sin nature. But know that greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world! Know that God has saved you and has called you to a holy calling. Know that God desires to live through us in accomplishing his mission in the world. The question is, will we be available and the conduit by which he works?