By Randi Peck
If I want with every fiber of my being, to be on mission for Jesus, then how come I am daily plagued with condemnation?
If I desire to create a home that displays God’s grace and truth, then why do I struggle with purposelessness and depression?
If I am continually motivated to come up with ways to be Christ’s hands and feet to the community, then why do I end up paralyzed by fear and doubt?
I do not understand what I do… I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do- this I keep on doing!(1)
I think a vital aspect in understanding our mission, is understanding Satan’s mission.
The hindrances that arise as we bring the good news to the world will only make sense when we understand that Satan hates our mission. And he will try to do everything he can to deceive, ensnare, and distract us from it.
I think there are countless ways that Satan carries out his attacks, but for me, one of the biggest lies he speaks over me is that I am not enough. And when it comes to our mission to bring the people around us God’s healing and hope, the devil will use this lie in a couple of ways:
- I am not enough, therefore, I must become enough before being on mission
How could I ever declare the gospel to that relative- when I’m struggling with so many questions?
How could I speak encouragement into her situation, when I wrestle with hopelessness so often?
How could I represent God’s kingdom, while I’m still dealing with so much sin in my own heart?
These questions seem valid, and they were planted by rulers of darkness (2) to stop me in my tracks. They take my eyes off the cross, off the needs of so many around me, and place them on my own sorry self. As I’m flooded with reminders of my own inadequacy and unworthiness, I start attempting to prove my own righteousness, before I proclaim righteousness. I struggle to show good works, before I share good news.
I suppose that if I were a powerful king, possessing an important message, I would ensure it was delivered professionally, expediently, and flawlessly. I would hire the best speechwriter and the top communicators. I would seek out the most persuasive diplomats and ambassadors.
But God chose another route- He chose us as messengers of his proclamation. He knew that we would be flawed vessels, delivering his precious gospel “in jars of clay”. But this was on purpose, that we might “show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (3)
Yes, we are crushed and perplexed, suffering and sinful- and yet we still stand, held by a faithful God. People don’t need a hand out or a hand up. They need to see a vessel- hollowed and hallowed, cracked and broken- seeping out the light of the Lord and the hope of our Savior.
2) I am not enough, therefore, I must become enough by being on mission
Such well-weaved snares, that the “angel of light” whispers to my heart:
If you share the gospel with this person… then God will be pleased with you.
If you volunteer with this organization… then you will experience true blessing.
If you give away more money… then you will be worthy of Jesus.
Satan is a master deceiver (4)- and when he emphasizes these good works that I’m to do, I often assume the Holy Spirit must want me to carry them out… Because, well, they’re good! The problem is, the “If” and the “then” of these otherwise noble actions are whispered so subtly, that I am blinded to the fact that my motives are severing me from Christ (5) and nullifying the grace of God (6).
Even if we spend our whole lives contributing to the community around us…
Giving away all we have to the poor (7)…
Or shouting repentance from the rooftops…
If our heart is still motivated by guilt, we will be messengers of the law, making disciples of works. When our mission doubles as a quest to earn God’s favor, will be like those Pharisees, “traveling across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves”. (8)
These snares of Satan- doing good things to earn God’s pleasure OR not doing anything good at all, because we’re paralyzed by our inadequacy… At the root, both are derived from the same LIE:
The lie that I can earn anything at all.
The lie that I am anything more than NOTHING, apart from Christ (9).
The lie that Jesus did not die on the cross, conquering death and sin. That he did not offer me life abundantly, if I only believe (10).
There is one truth that counters both of the lies we talked about: simply, HE is enough. True mission is born- not out of guilt- but out of GRACE.
Until we’ve received Jesus’ grace, we will never actually bring good news into this world.
So bask. Bask in the good, sweet, life-changing news that we have nothing to earn. I assure you that the natural result will be an overflow of thanksgiving, a life of mission in this world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. (11)