My wife Pam and I have some neighbors, “Mike and Sarah” who love Jesus and seem to like being around us. But are we destined to sit around our kitchen table singing What a Beautiful Name with them until Jesus returns (I love that song, by the way)? While being in community with other believers is vital (which we’ll speak to in a later post), God has something more for us than just that.
Jesus commissioned His disciples as He commissions us:
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21 ESV).
Our identity is to be sent ones, sent into a broken world.
God’s call on the life of every believer, and our third characteristic of a disciplemaker, is to live among those who don’t know Christ.
But it isn’t just being among the lost that makes the difference, it’s how we live in the posture of our attitude and interactions. Here are three ways we can live as sent ones to be God’s instruments in our friends’ and family members’ spiritual journeys:
1. Live incarnationally. Jesus, God Himself, came to live among us (see John 1:14 in The Message). We must do the same, interacting in the same spirit as Jesus does, not living for ourselves, but serving the harassed and helpless as salt and light in the world (see Matthew 5:13-16).
2. Live “questionable” lives. Michael Frost uses this concept in his book, Surprise the World—and I love it! We have been treated with lavish mercy and given abounding hope, so our lives will look different (1 Peter 2:10-12; 3:15). Friends will start asking questions about the difference when they see us being people of love, joy, and hope even in difficult circumstances.
3. Live with compassion for lost sheep. The Great Shepherd is intimately acquainted with the limitations of His sheep. Instead of being frustrated, His compassion drove Him to leave the 99 to find the one who had wandered off (see Luke 15:3-7). As sheep ourselves, we can empathize with those who are struggling and with deep compassion and patience, point them to the gospel of hope.
Because of our identity as sent ones, Pam and I are teaming up with Mike and Sarah to reach others on our block. We are living into our identity as sent ones and it is invigorating!
I’m interested in hearing from you: what other passages guide us in how God calls us to live as sent ones, and to disciple among the lost?