The motivation for missional living is love from my changed heart to another heart across barriers of sex, age, ethnicity, denomination, religious belief, morality, politics, socio-economics, athletic ability and social capital.
God changes me with his love.
When he accepts me in Christ I am safe. He has laid the groundwork for emotional stability. This emotional stability gives me steadfastness and courage to obey God out of love for him and others regardless of the social cost. If people reject me because I love them and others in Jesus’ name, the love and acceptance of God upholds me against that emotional hurt (And it will hurt).
It requires sacrifice to live missionally. But this sacrifice is my praise offering to God.
It hurts me to live missionally. I must give up things in order to have other things. But the change God has made in me gives me wisdom and courage to give up wrong things (and some good things) so that I might attain the best things.
As God is building up my inner life with his love and acceptance I sense my desires changing. I want to give the same love and acceptance to others. I want them to experience what I have experienced. It took me awhile to get what God was saying and doing in me. I still don’t always understand why he does what he does in me. Because of this I am patient when others resist or misunderstand my attempts at loving them in Christ.
The world hurts hearts. This makes us defensive. God is tearing down my defensiveness with his love and acceptance. I expect others to be defensive when I try to love them in Christ. This doesn’t discourage me. I continue to pray for them and ask God to give me courage, perseverance and a divine transforming love that accurately reflects and glorifies him.
Loving a person means loving their inner life.
I will see people for what they are: a spiritual human being made in the image of God. The world tempts me to look at people only on the outside – their beauty or cool factor. The world tempts me to put people in a box – prejudge them as belonging to a certain group with certain characteristics before I really get to know them.
But God looks at me for who I am and loves me. So I will try hard to look at others as deep, interesting people who deserve respect and love.
Living missionally means loving people’s hearts. Loving a heart means listening, respecting, giving and receiving. I listen to what people have to say with the intention of understanding their perspective. They will see the world differently than I do. I know my perspective isn’t always right, so this can help me know the world and God better. This takes humility, so it’s hard for me. But God continues to change my heart so it gets easier the more I spend time with Him.
Respecting people means I don’t judge them for the things that make them different from me.
I honor them by being polite and kind. This is missional living, too. It helps me connect with them and we both enjoy the relationship as it builds.
I have something to give people and they have things to give me, too. So I look past their differences and try to discover what it is that God is showing me through them. It’s like a detective mystery but it’s real. And it’s important. The better I get at this the closer I feel to Jesus.
There are a lot of barriers between me and other people. But my heart – changed by God – is motivated to reach people, even if there are barriers that make connecting, honoring and loving them more difficult.
Race differences are a big deal right now in our country. They’re a big deal all over the world, actually, just displayed in different ways. I know people of different colors probably judge me without even knowing me. I can sense that I do it, too, if I’m honest with myself. I don’t think Jesus likes that about me. Though he still loves me and is helping me think more like him about people.
Very few people in my school really hang out, I mean really hang out with people of different color. It’s so much more comfortable to stay with people that are like me, that think like me, have similar experiences as me and look like me! I don’t know what people of other colors are really thinking about me and it’s a risk to intentionally cross this barrier. Jesus went to half-breed Samaritans. Paul went to Jews and Gentiles both. God wants us to reflect his love for all people equally.
That’s hard today, Lord. Help me do it well.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8
Pastor Nate Meiers
Nate brings over two decades of pastoral experience. He is passionate about missional living and establishing Christian cultures that cross barriers for the glory and mission of Christ. He has earned a fifth degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and Shurite Kempo.
Contact Nate Meiers at firstname.lastname@example.org