Everyday missionaries are called to such a unique, strange life that there is no way to explain it other than the massive change God has made in us. But here’s the catch: in order for people to see the gospel change in us we have to live out our mission in way that the people can see it. So when does everyday mission happen? When the people God sends us to see the choices we make.
1 Peter 2:11-12, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
There are two extremes to Peter’s thoughts. Verse 11 reminds us that we’re foreigners and exiles, and as such calls us to abstain from sin. Some Christians read “abstain from sinful desires” as “abstain from being around anyone or anything ‘non-Christian’.” In verse 12 Peter disallows that removal mindset. Where does God call us to live out that holy life? Among the Gentiles. Rather than keeping faith huddled in holy ghettos, Peter calls Christians to live out in public, in the midst of those who don’t follow Jesus.
The other extreme we can slip into goes beyond living our faith among the Gentiles, to instead living LIKE the Gentiles. This extreme finds joy, hope, and satisfaction in the same things they do. This is just as dangerous a misinterpretation as the first: it overemphasizes grace and rejects obedience of his radical call. The two-sided principle in verses 11-12 encourages us to balance or hold in tension those extreme views.
Everyday mission happens when our goals, time, resources, decisions, and day-to-day lives functionally proclaim what we mentally affirm.
“So, how’s your spiritual life going?”
What’s the best way to honestly answer that question? By the state of my Daily Quiet Times with God or other growth “activities?” Did I pray and read the Bible enough lately?
That’s how the Pharisees measured spiritual growth.People can be very disciplined but remain proud and spiteful.
So how do you assess the well-being of your soul?
Ask yourself these questions: Am I growing in the fruit of the Spirit? Am I more loving, full of joy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, and self-controlling this year compared to last? This month compared to last?
Then ask the opinion of your spouse, best friend, or co-worker.
I’ve seen many people die. I don’t mean in any gruesome way but just in terms of the natural course of old age or cancer. Most of them were committed Christians and I can say of them what John Wesley often and joyfully declared, “Our people die well!”
Indeed, when I’ve seen how well they can die, how unafraid and triumphant they are when they face the last enemy, I am fortified afresh to testifying to the sufficiency of Christ’s works for me.
“As long as I am still something, Jesus Himself cannot be everything. My life must be expelled, then the life of the Spirit of Jesus will flow in.” -Andrew Murray
The most important thing an everyday missionary does is look to God, not ourselves, no matter, to fulfill His mission for us.
One way we do this is through prayer. Prayer admits that our best planning and plotting are not enough for God’s mission. How would God have us engage?
As we pursue missions, we pray for five things:
- We pray for those to whom God sends us.
- We pray for Spirit-led discernment.
- We pray that God emoldens us.
- We pray that God softens hearts.
- We pray that God draws people to Himself.
The doctrine of the fall, with all of its dire consequences, shines with awful clarity in Scripture: Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”
The effect of the fall was shame, the never-failing companion of sin. “They knew they were naked” (Genesis 3:7). Their peace and purity were gone.
The effect of the fall was the darkness of the mind. “Adam and his wife hid from the presence of the Lord…” (3:8).
The effect of the fall was slavish fear. When God asked Adam why he hid, he replied, “I was afraid” (3:10). They were now afraid to look upon God whose presence was their heaven and joy.
The effect of the fall was to refuse responsibility or to repent (3:12).
Jesus hung on a cross for three hours before the sky got dark for another three hours. Jesus’ first words from the cross were a prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus died praying for others. What he preached about in terms of loving enemies on a hillside in Galilee, he practiced on a cross on Golgotha.