- Today, what would you celebrate today about your missional community?
- Today, what would you confess or lament about your missional community?
- Today, what are you hopes for your missional community?
Scripture: Galatians 5:13-24
Our Identity and the Fullness of Life: As a result of the gospel, we believe that the Holy Spirit gives us a new identity, transforming us over time to become more and more like Jesus. (Ephesians 4:12-15) Two things are true at once. First, we are who God declares us to be. Our identity in Christ surpasses all others. Second, we are becoming who God desires us to be. According to the will of the Father, through the work of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are being transformed. We are being made new. We have been adopted us into God’s family and given important work to do. (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:1-10). God has declared us to be his people (I Peter 2:9-10). We have been given responsibility in God’s kingdom, and the authority we need to serve as his representatives wherever he sends us. (Luke 24:45-49, James 2:18, 2 Corinthians 5:20).
We believe that the full and abundant life that God has in mind for us flows from our identity in Jesus Christ. The fullness of life is rooted in our identity.
This life is characterized by knowing we are loved and responding to it. We respond by loving God back, by spending time in his presence, seeking to cultivate a rich and deeper relationship with him. We also respond by loving others with the love of God. As members of God’s household, we try to be faithful managers of all that God entrusts to us. We use what he puts in our hands to love him and love others. As we pray for God’s will to be done here as it is in heaven, we also listen for God’s invitation to join in where God is at work. With anticipation, we accept the adventure that God brings to us. (Mark 12:29-31, Luke 24:27, Ephesians 2:8-10)2 Peter 1:20-21, Revelation 21:1-5)
We will still struggle. It’s easy to be distracted away from the habits that remind us who we are and the clear sense of identity that leads us into the fullness of life. It is easy to fill our lives with activities of all sorts – even good activities – that are inconsistent with the call to mission God has for us. Moreover, it’s easy to be enticed into destructive ways of life. In the Galatians passage, some of the works of the flesh are articulated. Few of us would choose any of those works directly. For example, who would say, “Today, I want to give up contentment and be envious those around me?” That is not (usually) something we choose. It’s something we find ourselves slipping into. But those works of the flesh can ruin us, hurt those we love, and pull us of mission.
Abundant life, on the other hand, is the result of God’s work in us. God’s work in us produces the fruit of the Spirit Galatians speaks of. As the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control ripen and mature, we become ready for God’s work through us.
Sometimes, responsibilities add up and crowd out our time for mission and community. But have you ever made decisions that took you off mission? Have you ever started activities that were good, but made you so busy you struggled to keep doing something important? Have you ever entered into any relationships that were enjoyable, but not healthy? Have you ever made big commitments of time or money (career moves, purchases, etc) that weren’t wise? Being a part of a community can help us avoid the pitfalls. Being with people who know you well, love you with the love of Christ, and are committed to stirring you up to love and good deeds can help. Being open to the wisdom, prayers, and guidance of a community like that can help each of us remember who we are in Christ!
Being in community on mission can make all the difference. But to have it requires each of us to make a choice.
Reflection and Practice:
- Who are the people who help you remember who you are in Jesus Christ? Take some time to “remember them in prayer with thanksgiving”!
- Is there anything you need to confess or need help giving up? Do you have a plan? Do you have a community that is helping? Do you have anyone praying for you?
- Who is encouraging you? Who are you encouraging?
- Is there anything you need to do in response? When and how will you do it?