Missional Living People understand their identity through faith. "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
With all of the influences we daily face, it can soon become apparent that we will never, as believers, measure up, be acceptable nor accepted in every circle we walk in or come in contact with. The book of Acts reveals rejection, dismissals and refusals to embrace the missionaries with every village and town and city they preached in, save only a few rare exceptions. What does this do to the ideology and philosophy of what defines a successful mission, much less a worthy missionary by today’s standards? Friends, we are not biblical thinkers!
What is right about us is Christ. What is acceptable and admirable about us is Christ. What is our identity, purpose and the very permission to breathe daily, much less go wherever we are called to serve, is Christ. That which we have been, what we have supposed ourselves to be, and how we have valued our lives must be died to. It must be crucified. It must be, not risen again, but constantly nailed and buried, that the risen Lord can shine through us. The missional living person does not accept these things as trinkets of religious jargon, but as the very heartbeat of our new being in Him. And we accept it by faith. Faith in the Son of God becomes the life worth living, the air we are breathing, the bread we are consuming, the world we are now seeing and the destiny we were made for. The approval and value of what a man or woman, any man or woman, places upon us must be compared to what it is that Christ has said of all those who are in Him first, by faith, and then dismissed or received based on that comparison.
You are not a missionary because you chose a profession. That is not faith. You are a missionary because the Lord saved you. Where you are a missionary, to whom you should daily preach the Gospel by word and deed and spirit, is the Lord’s business, not of the will and wit of man, but by the grace given to you from Christ. That is faith. I have seen repeatedly that the influence of family, friends, and sadly even the church, can keep a man or woman from the life of faith for years. In a constant state of hopelessly believing they are not right in head or heart, they have heard a call, a voice repeats in the word and in their walk, drawing them to a thing, a place, a cause, a people, yet there is no one to vote yes in the crowd for which they have gathered and sacrificed consensus for calling. There is little in the word of God that dictates that we should see the majority vote as being God’s will. How would Moses have faired if faith were a democracy rather than a theocracy?
The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, long standing and only woman Prime Minister of Great Britain, was known for fighting for what she believed in. I have great appreciation for the often lonely place in which her stances and convictions placed her. She said, “Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?”
We hold up the great men and women in the Bible, not because they were popular in their day, although some indeed had applause and approval at various points in their lives, but because they stood for what they believed in- what they had faith in. They were more confident, I find, in the triune God’s identity, than anyone or anything else. For, as we come to know and understand Him and Who He is by faith, accepting that which He has said about Himself in His word, we then come to know ourselves, our role, our purpose and place. When such a cornerstone is set, the whole building becomes rightly fitted, and no storm assailing it will cause it to crumble.
While the corridors of the world have echoed across our history, “Know thyself” and “To thine own self be true”, the Lord calls out among the simple, on every highway and byway of His creation, “Know ME.” Indeed, that is all we need, but knowing Him is of no affect when the muscles of mind, body or heart alone are flexed, for that is what leads to such false doctrines as obtaining God's affections by our own merits. It is in the deepest and most true part of who we eternally are- the soul- what must be made alive by the Spirit Whom He has given us, that must be asserted first! The sinews of faith must be worked, indeed through an acceptance of the gift which God has given. Faith then pulls together the mind, heart, and body into a life lived that is both pleasing to and the fulfillment of who we are intended to be in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Missional Living people continually embrace who they are in Christ by faith, trusting in what God has said about all who are in Him, believing in all that He has purposed, and are daily submitted to letting Him be progressively more glorified in their lives, while denying and intentionally silencing any part of who they are that conflicts with His voice.
“Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe?’” John 16:31