Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
If you remember from last week, I started a short study of Colossians 3:17. That verse says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I am specifically focusing on what it means to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” God gave me an acrostic of the word NAME, and it has proven valuable in our study. That acrostic is:
Whatever I do, whatever I say, and whatever I pray, is to be according to the nature of Jesus, the attributes of Jesus, the mission of Jesus, and the exaltation of Jesus.
Today we come to the letter “M”, which represents the mission of Jesus. I wonder how our lives would change if we took some quality time to reflect on our lives and evaluate how much of them are spent on the mission of Jesus compared to being spent on our own pursuits? I suspect they might change drastically.
First, a couple of ground rules for such evaluation.
- No guilt and shame allowed. You may not have thought about these things before, and Satan would love to wrap you up in a blanket of regret. But spiritual change is about forgetting the past and pressing on towards the future.
- It is granted that we all need relaxation and recreation, and our tendency is to compartmentalize mission and not see how “fun” connects to it. Even Jesus got away from everyone and relaxed. However, when He relaxed, He did so with the sole purpose of being physically refreshed for the accomplishment of His Father’s mission. Even while He was relaxing, He prayed, prioritized, planned, and prepared for God’s purpose in His life.
For example, on any given weekend or day off from work, how much time do we intentionally spend thinking about how the activity we chose would refresh us and provide us with increased opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus with someone at work when we returned? In case you’re wondering, I have spent many days off not thinking about that. But on the days I do, the next day is dramatically different. I wake up with all three engines running at peak performance. My physical engine is strong. My emotional engine is secure. My spiritual engine is running at top speed in anticipation of being used by God to touch someone’s life with His love. All because while I relaxed, I thought about what God wanted to do with my life after I was refreshed. The mistake many of us make is to use relaxation and recreation as an escape from the past, rather than a preparation for the future.
Now that we have those basics in place, we are ready to start the evaluation process. First, do you understand what the mission of Jesus is for your life? While each of us is unique, and uniquely equipped for various roles and responsibilities within the body of Christ, each one us starts with the same marching orders. Our identical mission is this – Go into all the world and make disciples.
We could spend weeks upon weeks studying all of the individual ways we are prepared, equipped, and gifted to do that, but unless we truly accept the primary mission itself then all of the methods will be meaningless. There is to be nothing in our lifestyle choices more significant than glorifying Jesus, and He is most glorified when we accomplish His mission – the salvation of souls. There can be no higher priority than people.
Second, we must carefully prioritize all areas of our life under Christ’s mission. Some of our chosen activities can remain. Some might have to go. Let’s use some of our evaluation questions again today to examine our priorities in light of God’s mission for our life. Ask these questions about every choice you make.
- Does this word or activity support my understanding of the mission to which I have been called in Christ Jesus?
- Does this word or activity represent the Gospel message of the transforming power of Jesus Christ to change my life?
- Does this word or activity prepare me in some way to fulfill Christ’s mission for me?
- Does this word or activity present an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with another person?
- Does this word or activity present an opportunity to make a disciple?
- Does this word or activity present an opportunity to teach others to obey Jesus?
- Does this word or activity present an opportunity to encourage and build up a brother or sister in Christ?
If the answer to any of the questions above is “no”, then ask yourself, while remembering ground rule #2 above, why that activity is permitted to remain in your life. Of what value is it in accomplishing the mission of God?
My friends, we are people of purpose. Everyone wants to know their purpose. We are blessed to be children of God, who get to experience the one true and fulfilling mission of all life – serving the Savior. Let’s join together to serve Him according to His mission, not ours.