How do we accomplish our mission?
All bible quotes not otherwise marked are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy. In fact it is the hardest thing you will ever do. Why you say? Well for one, you have Satan and all the legions of Hell opposing you. You have the old man, our natural inclination to be sinful, to struggle against.
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
You have a lot of things fighting against you. This is why for Christians it is so easy to get off track from serving God faithfully. It is why we must be disciplined about prayer and bible study. We have to keep filling our mind with good things to fight off the very natural bad things we have intrinsically and from dealing with the world.
Here Paul speaks of his own struggles
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
So how do you do it? Well many don’t. Many believe attending church on Sunday and doing little or nothing else is all that is asked of them. They’ve taken the easy path. This is absolutely not what Christ is calling his children to do.
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus says take up your cross. He says follow Him and do as He leads even unto death. He is not proposing an easy life. He is proposing an important, fulfilling, and meaningful life. When you take up that cross and follow Him you are in His will. You are on mission for Him. You will accomplish great things. The secret to the Christian life is yielding to the will of the Most High.
Still this life Jesus speaks of is very hard. How are we to manage to live that life out? What resources do we have?
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
When it says “work out” your own salvation with fear and trembling, Jesus is not talking about your justification before God. He is talking about the process that God is doing in making you more like Him. He is the potter and we are the clay. He is working us constantly to draw us nearer. The closer we get to Him the great things we can do in His power not ours.
In fact, God doesn’t care what we do in our own strength. He cares about what we can do in His strength. You see if God is willing your purpose He is providing the strength.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
If we look at this verse in the context, it is very much about Paul enduring hardship as he carries forth God’s plan. Paul went about the business of God with the certainty that God would provide for him as he carried out his mission. God is no less willing to provide for us. God is not talking about leaping tall buildings in a single bound. He is talking about the trials that accompany faithful service. When we are faithful to His plan for our lives He is faithful to provide the strength and resources we will need.
This is why brothers and sisters in Christ you do not need to ever commit sin to accomplish the will of God. To do so is to confess that you think God is insufficient to accomplish His plan because His plan is our plan. So if you feel tempted to commit sin to further your cause then that cause is either accomplishable within God’s will or it cannot be the will of God. God’s plans are not frustrated. So if you are tempted to spread a lie about someone seeking the same job in the church as you so that you can get that job, realize you are sinning to do what you think is your mission. Guess what? You don’t need to spread rumors or gossip to discredit the competition. If God is for you serving in that job, God will see you into it using only Godly means. That does not mean would should not submit our resume or speak out in a godly way for the job. It means the second we want to resort to sin because we think it won’t happen then we are failing in our trust of God. God’s plans are never frustrated.
The road is a hard one. Christian life is a life of trial.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
The more we become like Christ the more the world will hate us. Is the world hating you? Are you really becoming more like Christ? The two should go hand in hand. We need to make the world a bit uncomfortable. The light of Christ shining through us will reveal the sin in the world and people hate having their sin revealed. That does not mean you necessarily speak out on their sin. You bring conviction upon them by your behavior. If our walk is not up to our talk, our talk will do little good.
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
The days are evil. Why is anyone surprised that the lost out there are doing bad things? Why does that frighten you? There is no reason to fear those people. Instead focus on God’s plan. Time is short and these days are evil. Let’s redeem the time wisely.
Many focus on this verse as a polemic against drinking wine. The fact is everyone in those days drank wine including Jesus. Wine was their water purification system. The passage though is in fact an admonition to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Wine no doubt was something that could get control of your life. You want nothing to get control of your life but the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be fully controlled by the Holy Spirit. When you are yielded 100% to the will of God, you are filled by the Holy Spirit. Watch out when that happens because God will often move powerfully in you to accomplish His will at that time. God wants you to want Him the way a drug addict or an alcoholic wants his fix.
I was once witnessing to some Muslims. We were discussing various parts of the Christian bible and God began to work through me. I was remembering bible verses and saying exactly the right thing to these men. Afterwards I could only look back in amazement. How had a person like me with a poor memory recalled all those verses? The Spirit was working within me. Now I had studied those verses so it wasn’t like the Spirit wasn’t using my upbringing in the world. The Spirit will use us when we faithfully prepare.
In brief then the way you progress as a disciple is to trust God more, prepare to share the gospel, study the word, and realize that life will be hard and embrace it.
Remember, God is always with you even to the end of the age.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Jesus is with us. Who can stand against us? No one. We will triumph. Figure out your mission for Christ. What are you to do? It’s not just going to church. It’s doing what God has planned for you. It’s finding your mission and accomplishing it through Christ. All that is needed is a willing heart.
Thank you for reading. There will be more God willing. I love you all. I pray God blesses your mission.