“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
These are the last two verses of the gospel according to Matthew. These are the final instructions that Jesus gave his disciples before ascending to heaven. It is better known as “The Great Commission.” Jesus has wrapped up His earthly teaching to His disciples with one last command. Go and make disciples. Take all your life experiences and everything I have taught you in the past three years. Please bring it to other people in your life. Follow my example and find those to follow Me through your example. And Jesus’ last statement is, “no matter what happens, I will be with you!”
We live in a world that is full of diversity and segregation. Not just of nationality, skin, or economic level. We live in a broken world that has a distinction between believer and no-believer. Yet it seems the world is more concerned about where you fit in politically, environmentally, or sexually. When this life is said and done, the real personal question for all of us is, “Who do you say Jesus is?” Are you a believer that Jesus is the Messiah who stepped out of eternity into a womb, was born, lived, died, and rose again? We can work out the details of theology later but without this central core belief, what else is there to worry about?
Why, as the church, would we get stuck arguing about what political leader is leading a nation? Do we believe the bible when it says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1. Because if we do, then at the very least, God allows leaders in our lives with values that don’t align with ours. I am not saying that we, as God’s people, should never speak of these things but focus on the larger story. I think we are meant to keep our focus on God while living in these times. God knew you would be living in this exact time in history, so what will you do while you’re here?
In 1 Peter 2:9-11, we are called a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. We are strangers and aliens in a foreign land; we are to abstain from the lusts that wage war on our souls. Which nationality are you claiming? Are you being in the world and not of it? Again, we are not perfect beings, but we are becoming something. Where is our focus placed? Are we becoming more and more like the world and aligning our thinking with culture? Falling into traps of having to believe their way or you’re considered worthless. Or are we aligning with God?
Are you slow to speak and quick to listen? Do you show grace and mercy to those who would call you an enemy? God called us enemies when we were against Him, yet He still sacrificed perfection for the hope of imperfection, drawing us close to Him again. We are to be a particular people. Not being different just to be different, but our lives should stand out from the crowd. In John 15:18, Jesus said if the world hates you, know that it hated me first. So if I truly follow Christ’s example, I will be hated by the world. I struggle with this. I am working through the need to require human affirmation. The need to want to perform and do well to feel accepted and loved by others.
Now I am not looking for a fight, but how many people “in the world” hate me. I’m sure there are a lot. How many do I know? Very few. Does that mean I’m not living up to my full potential as a Christ-follower, or I don’t even know the “or”?
I am becoming confident in who I am as a Christ-follower. There will be days of opposition that will be stronger than others. I know I must stand firm in my faith and be a part of this holy nation, for I was called out of the darkness. And in my calling, I have to see who people are becoming, and my purpose is to encourage them to be Christ-like. Either they come out of the darkness or draw even closer to the light. We are never stationary in this life. We are either moving toward or away from something. I hope I am walking with you toward Christ, making a disciple along the way.
Father, thank you for Your Son, Jesus. He came, died, and rose again so I could have a purpose while on this rock. Thank you for placing me at this point in history, so I can encourage others to follow you. Open our eyes to the world as you see it. Please give us the desire to be strangers and aliens in this land. To know our home is actually with you. Encourage us to encourage others to long for that moment of coming home. Amen.