Life on Mission (Being a Disciple)
The good news of salvation found in Jesus, and the power of his Holy Spirit and the Word working in our lives, will propel us into lives on mission. This is where the rubber hits the road; when our faith is more than head knowledge, but now impacts how we live every area of our lives:
- How do we spend and view money?
- How do we use our gifts and talents?
- What things do we pursue?
- How do we view our neighbor?
- Where do we find joy?
- What brings us satisfaction?
Each one of these questions are things we will wrestle with as the truth of God's Word and the reality of eternity collides with our sinful nature and natural self-seeking desires.
God Has Equipped Us for This Mission
God in his amazing provision has not only given us a mission, but has equipped us to live it out. Every believer has been given the Holy Spirit!
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. - Ephesians 1:13-14
Through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are equipped to do the work of God in the unique way he calls us.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy,to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. - 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
When you hear the word manifestation, think of electricity. The properties of electricity don’t change. Yet, electricity shows itself in the different things it gives power to like a lamp, fan, or TV. The electricity flowing through the lamp gives off the light. It is the electricity flowing through the fan that spins the blades. The same is true with us. The Holy Spirit doesn’t change. However, as he works in each one of us, we all produce different things. What people see come out of us as the fruits of faith or gifts of the Spirit, will be different, but
they are all a result of the same Spirit.
This is the beauty of God's Church. He takes broken, sinful people, he saves us and he gives us everything we need to make a difference for the Kingdom of God! All of our gifts will look different because each of our callings are unique. However, we come together as the body of Christ, and as such, we work together to will do the work of the head (Jesus). And what kind of work is it? It's serving others for the glory of God.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 4:10-11.
So God has given us his Spirit as well as talents and abilities so that we can serve others and so that Jesus’ name is glorified through us!
What does a life on mission look like?
- Loving God above everything else.
- Preaching the gospel of Jesus to every corner of the earth.
- Loving our neighbor as ourselves.
- Caring for the poor, needy, hurting and lonely.
- Using our time, talents and abilities to show the love of Jesus wherever we can.
- Spending our time focusing on eternity and living for that rather than the world and its distracting pleasures.
Let's think back to the electricity example we talked about before. Electricity is meant to flow. If it’s not flowing, it has no power. For example, your electrical outlets have the potential for power, but until something is plugged into them, nothing happens. However, when a fan is plugged into the wall, it connects to the electricity, which flows all the way back to its source at the power plant. Your fan uses that energy to spin the blades, which moves air and helps cool things. Can you imagine if your fan sat in the corner of the room, but never did anything? I can guarantee you that no one would own a fan. However, a fan is amazing because it helps people. It accomplishes something useful.
The same thing is true for us as Christians. If we aren't serving in the power of the Holy Spirit, we aren't doing what we were created to do! We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, equipping us so that we can serve and build others up. We will see the Spirit manifest in our lives, not when you are sitting around, but when we are serving and doing the work that God created us do to. And how do we find the strength to step out and serve? We stay connected to our power source: God through his Word.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:5
Living a life on mission, spreading the good news and serving others, shouldn’t be an afterthought in our lives. It’s the very reason we are here. The world will see the Holy Spirit in us when we stay connected to God through his Word and when they see him manifesting in our lives. In every area of our lives, we should be aiming to serve and honor God with how we are living.
Living the Extraordinary through the Ordinary
Living a life on mission may be joy-filled and rewarding, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Jesus tells us that if we want to come after him, we must "take up our cross" and follow him. This is a cross of suffering, persecution and struggle, but that doesn't mean it's not worth taking up. When we are following Jesus, we have the joy of being a part of the amazing things God is doing in the world. Not only that, we know that the hardships we face are nothing compared to the unspeakable joy that awaits us in heaven for all eternity.
We accomplish extraordinary things for God by day in and day out obeying him and honoring him in the mundane ordinary things he commands us to do. While God gives each of us different callings (a missionary in a foreign land, a foster parent, a pastor, a mother, a businessmen or a student), our mission is always the same: sharing the good news of Jesus, loving our neighbor as ourself, forgiving our enemies, caring for the needs of others, and faithfully seeking God and his will in everything we do.
The amazing part about stepping out in faith and following Jesus no matter where he leads, is how much it strengthens your faith in him. When we go places that are uncomfortable, when we serve him in areas we feel inadequate, when we are put in situations where we will fail if he doesn't come through for us, we will clearly see how much God is working and moving in our lives! What a joy to see his strength and power and what a comfort to trust him more and more through the challenges.
When Christians rise up in the strength of the Holy Spirit, willingly and joyfully surrender their whole lives to God and for his mission, God does extraordinary things! What a joy to be a part of this glorious mission!