You are venturing forth as a missionary. The main purpose of your mission is to share Jesus, to be an agent of the kingdom of God, and to extend the lordship of Jesus. No matter what else you do (build, heal, teach, dig, or preach), your identity is to be a missionary. This is not so much an activity as it is an identity. It is not what you do, but who you are.
The woman at the well represents the working of a practical faith in Christ. Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He [she] who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life .(White, E.G., The Desire of Ages, 195).
I invite you to consider the difference between a nominal (i.e., intellectual, objective, nonparticipatory) relationship with Jesus, and a dynamic (i.e., experiential, subjective, participatory) relationship with Jesus.
The Can of Soup
The interviewer looked deep into the eyes of the young man he was interviewing. The young man had been born and raised in a conservative Christian home and church, yet during his college years he had seriously questioned that faith and subsequently cast his lot with an Eastern faith led by a mystic guru.
“What is it that you find in this new faith that is better than the old one?” he asked.
The young man paused reflectively and then replied, “Religion is like a can of soup. As a Christian, all we ever did was to read the label on the can, analyzing its contents. In my new faith we open the can and eat the soup.”
“How Does One Open the “Can”?
As a missionary, you will meet people of other religions who have “opened the can.” They often practice a religion that is woven into the very fabric of their lives.
How do you share Christ with people like this? Why don’t you start by thinking about your own experience: When have you gotten past the label and “opened the can to eat”? What are some of the results of this experience?
Here are some practical suggestions to open the “can”—
- Interactive Bible study
- Conversational prayer
- Making yourself accountable to a small group
- Dynamic corporate worship with a stress on reflection as well as on the emotional dimension
- Personal, practical involvement or participation in local mission or other’s felt needs
- Sacrificial giving
Being a disciple of Christ and a missionary requires a deep personal relationship with Jesus that results in a high level of personal commitment and loving obedience. Let us look at these two basic ingredients of discipleship for a moment.
Socrates taught that the unexamined life is not worth living. The truth is that it is the uncommitted life that is not worth living. Commitment is the first component in the life of a follower of Christ. What is commitment?
- Commitment points to the time we made a conscious decision, “Yes, Jesus. I belong to you. Come into my heart and mind; be Lord of my life.”
- It is subsequently remade daily, sometimes hourly.
- It involves a continual partnership with the living Lord.
- It is an open-ended commitment, much like marriage, open to a growing, deepening relationship.
If you have made this decision, pause and renew it. If you have not made this decision, now would be a great time to do so.
The second component of discipleship is loving obedience to our living Lord. Obedience does not mean perfection, but a relationship.
All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so to blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses .(White, E.G., The Desire of Ages, 668).
Out of this relationship we regularly make daily choices that enhance our relationship with Jesus. We regularly engage in activities and disciplines that make these choices natural (e.g., personal devotions, corporate worship, celebrating the Sabbath, helping and caring for others, giving tithes and offerings).
So what does it mean to be a follower of Christ? It means to be a person who is committed to Jesus and grows in an obedient love relationship with Him. This relationship we call commitment faith. It is the basis of everything we do.
What about you?
How do you experience Jesus’ continuous presence in your life? What disciplines are you currently using to reinforce your commitment and loving relationship with Jesus?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.