Just before Jesus ascended back to the Father he spoke his last words to the disciples. These words are known as the Great Commission and can be found in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus reminded his disciples that he had equal authority with the Father so they would exchange doubt for faith. Belief always affects action. Jesus commanded the early disciples to make disciples of all nations, people groups, and demographic areas, to teach people about Jesus by modeling his life. Jesus commissioned his disciples to embody his teaching so others might also be baptized and become disciples. The Great Commission ends with the promise that Jesus would not abandon the disciples as they went about sharing him in a world that rejected them, just as they had rejected him.
It’s one thing for Christians to read through the Commision and offer verbally agree with the global need for Kingdom expansion. It’s something else to personalize the Commission and intentionally live in a way that clearly reflects Jesus to broken people. You see, I have read through the Great Commission and even memorized it, yet I do not always follow my orders. Soldiers receive orders from commanders. Disciples receive orders from Jesus. Jesus provided clear direction for his disciples and provides clear direction for us.
The disconnect between our lives and our mission happens when we neglect our time with the King through prayer, fasting, and Bible intake. The heart of our King is that all persons will repent and have personal faith in Jesus the Messiah. As we grow in relationship to the Triune God and others we will be compelled to live intentionally for His purposes. Like many other believers, I too get distracted.
I get distracted by my own plans and agendas. I get distracted by other good priorities and ignore the most important priorities. I lose focus and live for myself rather than for God and His glory. Distractions are all around us and plead for our attention yet we must get back on mission and live on mission.
Living on mission means that we embody the Good News of Jesus wherever we go. It means that we embrace our communities and cities with Christlike compassion. Missional living does not happen by accident. It is an intentional decision to prioritize Jesus and his mission above all other tasks. Jesus actively pursues relationships with lost people and so should we.
A close friend recently shared the City Collective Podcast. This podcast arose out of a church planting movement in New York City by Trinity Grace Church. I listened to all sixteen episodes of this podcast and was challenged by the need to live on mission, right where I am in New Orleans. Church planters and revitalizers across the globe live on mission and reach their cities for Christ. They fight complacency in their own hearts and in their churches. We should fight complacency so that we might be more effective and live on mission. Complacency in our Christian life deters us from our mission to be and make disciples. By listening to this podcast and talking with other believers I am reminded of the need to live on mission.
I am renewing my commitment to live incarnationally on mission. I am praying that God will show me his heart for the world and for New Orleans. I am praying that God will continue to challenge me to live missionally so those in my sphere of influence will know Jesus.
The Apostle Paul said, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs. He seeks to please the commanding officer.” (2 Timothy 2:4) Fellow Christians, let us repent of our entanglement with non-kingdom affairs. Let us live on mission as disciples who seek the glory of God in our cities. Let us seek to bring the hope of the Gospel to where we live, work, play, and eat.
The North American Mission Board offers ten practical tips for living on mission. Readers are encouraged to read through these tips and begin living on mission for Jesus today.
Evangelical churches are in decline across many denominations. Perhaps one reason many churches are in decline is that they have stopped living on mission or have forgotten it altogether. Our mission is to be a disciple who makes disciples. It’s time to see a movement of God in our time that is birthed in prayer and intentional living. The prophet Habakkuk offers timely words for us today.
“Lord, I have heard the report about you; Lord, I stand in awe of your deeds. Revive your work in these years; make it known in these years. In your wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2, CSB)
I’m still figuring out what it means to live on mission. Maybe you are too.