In the Garden of Eden after the first sin, the initial evidence came when Adam and Eve saw “that they were naked.” They had been naked all along, but not until sin came did they take their eyes off God and put them on themselves. This is always what sin does. Before, God had been the center of their attention and devotion. Sin entered the picture, and their focus became centered squarely on themselves.
God in His grace intervened because all the ways we try to use to cover our sin never work. God took an innocent little animal, killed it, and covered Adam and Eve with its skin. That animal became the first to the know the expensive toll that sin takes on one’s life.
Hebrews 9:22, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
When all is said and done, what difference will it make if we drive luxury cars, eat vitamin-enriched foods, live in palatial homes, and are buried in mahogany caskets if we rise up in judgment to meet a God we do not know?
Romans 2:4, “The goodness of God leads you to repentance.”
Let His goodness take you by the hand today. He will lead you to repentance.
We serve not to convert; we serve because we’ve been converted. This is a vital distinction, but service and proclamation go hand in hand. We must a proclaim a message, but those around us need to see that message in action. Proclamation is most powerful in the context of a loving, caring, serving relationship.
When you think of the word “priest,” what image comes to mind?
Let me tell you what shoud come to mind. Go look in a mirror. If you are a Christian, the picture of a priest is you!
1 Peter 2:9-12 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 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.”
Following the old covenant image, our role is to represent God to others. God calls us to His priesthood, to declare and display Him to the people He’s sent us to.
Duty: Nearly every job requires taks we don’t like. We all attend events out of obligation. Everyone does things we have to. But we can’t view mission through that lens. Mission can’t be a “just enough” pursuit, an empty obligation.
Earning: In this trap, mission becomes an attempt to earn something from God or prove something to Him. But mission is not atonement. Mission cannot be a way to please God or avoid some punishment. Do you pursue mission to prove or earn something?
Self-glory: Mission as a way to improve self-worth and “how many people I’ve saved.” We aren’t responsible for the success of His mission, so we can’t use mission to build ourselves up. Do you do God’s mission to promote yourself?
Doing “good” things: Mission is not truly mission if it doesn’t involve Jesus. “Empty moralism” is doing nice things for people. It doesn’t require or point to Jesus. It lacks eternal weight and stems often times from poor motives. We must both display the gospel by our actions and declare it by our words.
- Politeness: It’s a greatly needed trait in our world today unless it slips into people-pleasing.
- Introversion: Introverts make great missionaries! They may have fewer conversations than extroverts, but those they have are usually deep. They tend to be good listeners.
- Shyness: Shy people need to discover a point of connection, like a common interest or shared acquaintance or something to focus on like a project or activity.
Introverts, go make a disciple. One at a time if that’s what it takes. Shy? Take your time and give yourself grace. Polite? Great! Just make sure you fear God more than man.