Being on mission matters immensely because,
As the disciples followed Jesus into the boat and into the storm, circumstances followed that uncovered the deep condition of their own souls. There is a sanctifying power attached to being on mission! It will be a tool for your own spiritual growth…an essential tool. One of the single best things we can do for our own spiritual development is to begin moving in mission with Jesus!!!
The disciples apparently had no initial misgivings about crossing the sea with Jesus. (Maybe they were thinking “holiday” or “picnic” on the other side?)
But they certainly had a bunch of misconceptions!
Our lives are so complicated and often our priorities are so mixed-up…And we can go on for months and years without really knowing it. There are so many priorities in our lives…that are simply NOT God’s priorities.
These competing interests often leave us unavailable to the INVITATION to MISSION. But if we are to GO WITH JESUS, we will invariably have to confront some idols…and face some challenges.
Comfort and safety
Popularity and the approval of our peers
The expectations of family and friends
Desires for wealth, leisure and entertainment
Sports and hobbies
Preconceived ideas about how our lives are to be
The “American Dream”
Jesus will use the challenges and obstacles that we face while on mission to help us see ourselves more clearly!
That night on the sea with Jesus revealed an idolatrous belief deep in the heart of His disciples. The pressures revealed that Jesus was still “on trial” in their lives:
“Do you not care that we are going to die?”
There are TWO FEARS in this statement. Do you see them? One is simply misplaced…and the other very grievous.
1. “We are going to die in this storm.” (this is a reasonable fear, based upon years of sailing experience.)
2. “You apparently don’t care about this tragedy…” (which is unbelief at best or blasphemy at worst!)
“So what? Why is dying a problem?”, Jesus seems to ask.
Their concern that they were at death’s door was not in itself sinful. But it simply was NOT as important as they thought.
A far worse outcome in this (or any) scenario would be to blaspheme the character of the Savior!
To physically die is one issue. But to blaspheme God’s nature (while you are living or dying) is quite another!
The fear of death rarely produces anything of real spiritual worth. If it results in turning to God, only then does it have value. Many “try” to have faith to overcome trials in this life…because they are afraid to die. In essence, they are still trying to be the captain of their own fate! They are afraid of cancer, of poisons, of terrorists, of conspiracies, of old age, of rejection, of bankruptcy, of any number of things.
Jesus is serious about removing all of these false gods from our hearts and minds…so that we are truly free to know and follow Him supremely!
Here’s a big question: HAVE YOU COME TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE STILL SOME DEBILITATING FEARS IN YOUR LIFE? POSSIBLY FEARS THAT ARE HINDERING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND OTHERS?
HAVE YOU YET SEEN THAT A HUGE PART OF CHRIST’S LASTING REMEDY FOR YOUR FEARS IS HIS INVITATION TO FOLLOW HIM ON MISSION?
Following Jesus on mission will help you slay a thousand fears!
Being on mission with Jesus is often calculated to expose the idols that are robbing Him of glory in your life…so that you can be liberated into the trust and obedience that is TRUE FREEDOM!
Consider the testimony of John Wesley after his encounter with some Moravian missionaries….who had no fear of death! Background: Wesley is on a sailing ship, crossing the Atlantic to America, observing the Moravian missionaries conducting a Sunday worship service onboard, during a storm.
There was now an opportunity of [observing] whether they were delivered from the Spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the [reading of the] psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans [Moravians] calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”
“From them I went to their crying, trembling neighbours, and pointed out to them the difference in the hour of trial, between him that feareth God, and him that feareth him not. At twelve the wind fell. This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen.” (From Wesley’s journal on Sun. Jan. 25, 1736. Brackets are mine, for clarity.)
Wesley saw something in the Moravians that he had not encountered before! He saw men, women, boys, and girls so convinced of the redemption and love that is in Jesus, that they were liberated from the fear of dying! Being on mission will often take us out of our comfort zones. And in doing so it will slay a thousand demons in our hearts!
Those Moravian missionaries had NO idea how their confidence in Jesus in the midst of the storm would impact the life and faith of John Wesley. Or how God would use John Wesley to impact the world as a result! The Moravians were on mission even on the way to the mission field! Their mission began well before they arrived in America! And in a very real sense, their mission is still bearing fruit in our lives!
Being on mission matters immensely because it uncovers our idols and exposes our fears…and thus aids our becoming more and more like Jesus. This makes our witness to our Lord’s saving grace far more powerful.
More next time.