January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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This month, we’ve taken time as a church to focus on missions. Although it’s important to dedicate specific time for the topic of missions and to increase awareness of the realities foreign missionaries endure daily, it’s also important to acknowledge that mission work is not just another sub-ministry of the local church and not restricted to those with a unique calling for it.
Being on mission is part of every Christian’s daily life. We don’t have to wait for God to call us to be missionaries because that’s part of the new identity we receive when we accept His gift of salvation and become new creations. In light of this, what then does the mission look like really? How can we translate talking about mission into living on mission, especially when we’re not doing it internationally or working at a church? In order to answer these questions, we must first define what the mission actually is.
If you’ve been around church for any amount of time in your life, then you’ve probably heard of The Great Commission. It’s found in Matthew 28 as Jesus ascends into heaven and leaves His disciples to continue His ministry on earth. You can also read the article, “What Does Being an Ambassador for Christ Actually Mean?” as it pairs really well with what we’re discussing here—and within it, there’s more about Matthew 28:18–20.
To summarize what that article and the Word of God says on mission, it’s essentially the divine pursuit of truly worshipping God through knowing Him more and making Him known among the nations. This mission is personal, global, all-inclusive, and life-long. With this in mind, how can we actually live out the mission every day? Paul is a great example of this! He not only did he live this out, but he also wrote about it in many of his letters. Colossians is filled with truth that we can look to for guidance with what it looks like to live missionally every day!
To live missionally, there must be a perspective shift. We must fixate our minds on Christ every day so we can view the world and the people in it as He does. This is exactly what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1–2 (NIV), which says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
To live missionally, there must be a perspective shift.
Practically, doing this daily may look like setting aside time to read the Bible, praising the Lord to worship music, giving Him your undivided attention in prayer and solitude, connecting with a church small group, and engaging in a mentorship relationship. Sometimes, by doing even the simpler things like writing down a verse each day, putting sticky notes with Scripture around your house or office, setting reminders on your phone to thank Jesus and spend time with Him, or choosing to listen to worship music while doing a task can all contribute to growing the mission mindset Christ calls us to have.
In Colossians 3:5–10, Paul writes about all the earthly actions we put to death when we choose to follow Christ and be renewed in Him. Instead of passing over this list of sinful behaviors, I think it’s important to take note of it so we can stand out from those around us who don’t know Christ. How so? Well, we can start by putting away dishonesty, greed, anger, lust, sexual immorality, and filthy language. I know as I read through these verses, it’s hard not to get defensive or feel guilty, but that’s not Paul’s intent. Paul is seeking to remind us that we “have taken off [our] old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9–10 NIV). With the help of our faithful Father, the gracious Son, and the powerful Spirit, we can put off these practices and replace them with what Paul goes on to talk about.
As we put on the new self, we get to put on “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NIV). Not only that, but we bear with one another, forgive each other, love each other in unity, allow the peace of Christ to rule in us and flow out of us, live thankfully, and sing praises to God! You may read this and think many of these actions seem small. On the other hand, you may think they seem impossible! The key here is that we don’t live this way daily out of our own strength and will. We get to live this way daily because of God’s grace, Christ’s victory, and the Spirit’s help!
Put your imagination caps on as I paint a picture of what this can look like in our daily lives, including in our digital lives.
Imagine taking a fast from social media, unfollowing accounts that are not glorifying or honoring Jesus, or just completely deleting your social media apps altogether. Imagine finally going to a counselor or joining a recovery group, forgiving that person you have yet to forgive, or confessing a bad habit or hidden sin to your spouse, your close friend, your family, or a trusted advisor so you can seek help and accountability together.
Imagine being open about your faith on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok by sharing your story, your favorite Scripture, something God has taught you recently, an invitation to come to church with you, or even just telling your followers that you would love to answer any questions about faith and Jesus. Imagine committing to pray for loved ones in your life—both believers and non-believers, or strangers you pass at the store or in the car as you pass them—every single day.
Imagine being generous with your time whenever you see an opportunity to help a stranger with their groceries, to stay a little longer at your job to help a co-worker, to make a phone call to a distant family member, to share a meal with a friend, to pay for a random person’s meal, or to make bags of food and hygiene products for the homeless. Imagine inviting any of those people to church with you or having a gospel conversation with them after having loved them like Jesus would!
International missions is very important when it comes to living for Christ because His heart is for people of all tribes and tongues to know Him; however, if you don’t currently find yourself in a season of international mission work, I hope this article has inspired you to see the reality of living missionally every day whether in a familiar place or not. There are so many ways for us to live missionally by simply putting on the new self as redeemed followers of Christ! Thanks be to God who can help us live on mission every day.
May we not take for granted this good news that has changed our lives and the responsibility and privilege we have of being able to share it with others! Like Paul would later write in the same chapter, “And 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” (Colossians 3:17 NIV).
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.