Wednesday, January 2, 2008
It's Not About Us
Pause for a moment, and reflect on the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt 28:19-20). Many could argue from these words of Jesus that telling others about God is a believer’s duty. However, I think believers miss the mindset that Jesus wanted us to have if we simply think of his teachings as rules and regulations on our lives. Learning from Christ’s example, one would have to draw the conclusion that His ultimate goal was to get believers to grasp the concept life is not worth living unless your only purpose is to glorify God with all that you are and all that you do. Jesus didn’t keep numbers of those he baptized or how many followed Him in each city. He concerned Himself with drawing near to His Father and following His will.
Jesus knew that some would harden their hearts and would not repent. He knew that some things he said would be offensive, even to religious leaders. However, He was not concerned with how others perceived Him, because He knew that He was living for a greater purpose. His life and death glorified God, and that was all that mattered.
Given that God longs for all of creation to worship Him, missions exists because there are places where the name of God is not praised. Missions is ultimately not about the lost, but about the One who saves the lost. This concept is not meant to belittle the importance of saving a lost person from sin, but rather, it is to magnify the importance of worshipping God through our existence. The life of Jesus models this concept, as everything He did was not for His own gain, but for His Father’s sake. Jesus gave everything, even His own life, to bring God glory, even though the price was high.
This is a concept that may be difficult for some to accept, especially a new believer. This is why salvation must be followed by the renewing of your mind. Following Christ means adopting a new mindset for life. The apostle Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:1-2). Likewise, Ezekiel 36:26-27 teaches that God will give us a new heart to replace our former ways.
Mankind is born selfish, so everything about living for God goes against our fleshly tendencies. We have nothing to gain from leading others to Christ, as salvation is a free gift from God. God has everything to gain, since there will be more of His creation that will worship Him. That being said, missions cannot stop with simply telling someone about Jesus. Missions must be a continual lifetime process of living your life as worship and helping others to do the same. There are people who sit in church pews all across America who do not glorify God with their lives. If you simply share Christ’s story with someone, but neglect to provide them a way to grow in their relationship with the Lord, they may or may not worship Him.
Believers in Christ must begin to recognize that worship is not a one-time act and missions is not a two-week trip. Worship and missions are both lifestyle and mindset changes that are necessary following salvation. While God changes our heart, the new believer must surrender to Him to develop the mindset of Christ. While Piper coined the phrase that worship is the fuel and goal of missions, the apostle Paul conveyed the same idea when he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).