If you want to make a crowd full of Christians uncomfortable, all you need to do is read some of Christ's most direct statements about how He wants us to live.
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV).
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22 ESV).
More often than not, when people hear sermons about these passages, they dismiss them, refusing to hear them literally. Or they hear them literally and feel sorrowfully inadequate to live a life that would be this radical by today's standards. But often, like the young rich man, it's the first step toward living radically for Christ that holds people back. It is the misconception that obeying these calls requires us each to become missionaries in far flung places, translating the Bible into native languages in the tropic humidity of some mud hut on the equator.
It is that initial call to "go" that seems so insurmountable to many people. It’s the thought of being viewed as radical when you proudly share your faith.
It was that call to "go" that once seemed insurmountable to me. But then God did a funny thing — He found a way to convince me to "go" despite myself. He introduced me to my husband. And even when my fear of military life made me want to run from our relationship, God pursued me through my husband and now here I am. And now the "going" is out of the way. Military life saw to that — we have definitely "gone" with 5 moves in 5 years. We are definitely going in the midst of a PCS to South Korea. And as we go, I can't help but consider that military life is the perfect vessel for obeying Jesus' command for us to reach all nations.
But the “Great Commission," as Matthew 28:18-20 is often referred to, has become less and less something our modern minds consider a command for every Christian, and more and more something we think of for someone else. For someone who reads that verse and feels inspired. And if it doesn't "speak" to you, then there are lots of other parts of the body of Christ for you to fulfill. But the funny thing is, Jesus wasn't just talking to the hands and feet of the body. He was talking to all of us.
And He wasn't suggesting that this commission could only be lived out as missionaries in far off lands. In fact, we often get so hung up on making disciples and baptizing nations that we forget that Christ's commission is meant to be a way that we speak and live missionally right where we are.
It’s not just what we say to share the gospel, it’s how we live in our communities. We know from Christ Himself that sometimes the most powerful way to teach is through action, not words. He could have told us we were forgiven of our sins and as the omnipotent God to whom our sin indebts us, it would have been so. But instead, He made the heart of the gospel a dramatic and beautiful act of sacrifice. Our words should certainly tell that story, but they will always fall short of how our daily lives proclaim the freedom it gave us.
The call to go and share the gospel isn't just for missionaries. It is a call to seize the joy you have found in Christ and kindle it by sharing it with others — through the way you live and the way you share your testimony.Our words will always fall short of how our daily lives proclaim the freedom Jesus gave us.Click To Tweet
The Perfect Match
For you and I, God has made the most difficult choice for us. We have already been sent. We aren't waiting to go; we are already gone! Off and away on the adventure of military life. And all around us, in every place we look, the world needs Jesus. As military spouses, we already have many of the skills that make sharing the Gospel natural — we are comfortable meeting new people, can build relationships quickly, and we are extremely compassionate.
The overwhelming joy of our freedom in Christ and our love for others should make us want to share our faith. Now it’s time to take the leap of living to share it in the places God takes you through this lifestyle. No assignment is ever an accident, and it’s no accident that you joined this military lifestyle, in which your life intersects with so many others.
Now let's spend the next few weeks looking at what it might be like to heed the great commission by living missionally — to not just proclaim the gospel with our words but also with our actions and relationships in each new community we join.
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Do you share your faith with others often and openly? If so, how has that encouraged you to continue doing so? If not, what holds you back?
Why do you think Christians hesitate to share their faith in today’s world?
What elements of military life are ideal for sharing your faith with lots of people?
Read this article and consider what the main story behind your testimony would be. What was your “aha!” moment?