The Confident Witness (4)
We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 2 Corinthians 10.13
As we’ve seen, with the Apostle Paul, after he became a Christian there was never a moment when he had to ask himself, “Now what?”
He seemed to know from the very beginning that, whatever else he did, or wherever he went in life, telling other people about Jesus was going to be his primary occupation and calling. Jesus Christ had brought him the Good News of forgiveness and a life filled with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). How could he not tell others about such a wonderful prospect?
For Paul, the question was never “whether” to be a witness, but only, “where?” or perhaps more pointedly, “to whom?” All he needed was for God to show him the area of influence He had prepared for him, and Paul would knock himself out making the Good News known there.
Areas of influence
Paul said that God had assigned to him an area of influence (“sphere”). This was just what God had done with Jesus, is it not? He’d sent Jesus to an “area of influence” that stretched from Galilee in the northeast to Tyre and Sidon on the west, south to Jerusalem and across the Jordan up through Decapolis to Galilee. Jesus devoted Himself to working that area of influence by His words and deeds, so others could see that in Him and hear from Him the new reality and glorious Good News that the Kingdom of God had broken into time with new force and presence.
Paul’s area of influence was considerably larger than that of Jesus, mostly because Paul had more years to work his assigned place. From Jerusalem to Asia Minor to Greece and Rome, and maybe beyond, Paul embraced his calling to bring “boasting about the Lord” Jesus into every place his feet touched the ground. Paul had no greater joy than to boast about the Lord in every place he went – talking about Jesus, living the life of Christ with others, worshiping and praising the Lord, and urging others to know Him.
And when we understand and embrace our area of influence the way Paul did, we’ll begin to be more confident and consistent in our witness for Christ.
Your Personal Mission Field
The Apostle Paul instructed the believers in Corinth to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11.1). We can assume he intended this for us as well. Paul followed Jesus in discerning his area of influence for proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom. Each of us has been sent into the world as Jesus was sent, and as Paul went – to a particular place, time, and people, with a mission of making known the Gospel, bringing near the Kingdom, and being a witness for Jesus Christ (Jn. 20.21).
Each of us has a Personal Mission Field, unique to us, which the Lord has staked out for us for being His witnesses. Jesus said we are to “make disciples” in that Personal Mission Field, and He said we should do this “as you are going” (Matt. 28.18-20). Your Personal Mission Field is defined by the places you go, week-in and week-out. Your home, neighborhood, place of work, school, circle of friends, avocations, community – the places you go each week are the places to which the Lord is sending you as His witness, to make disciples “as you are going.”
Your Personal Mission Field shouldn’t be too hard to identify. Identifying your Personal Mission Field isn’t the issue. Embracing it as such, is. As Paul immediately began to seek out, discern, and work the parameters of his area of influence, so we too should be busy discovering the places and people to whom the Lord has sent us as ambassadors of Christ and witnesses to Him.
You could easily make a list of the places you go each week, and beside each place, jot down the names of the people you encounter there. There you have it – at least, that’s a beginning. Now you need to start praying for these people, getting to know them, looking for ways to show them the love of Jesus, initiating friendly conversations, and staying alert to every opportunity to bear witness to our risen and reigning Lord (Eph. 5.15-17).
You have an area of influence – a Personal Mission Field. And the sooner you embrace that calling and begin to work your mission field like Jesus and Paul, the sooner the power of God’s Spirit will begin to grow in and flow through you, like living water of grace, truth, and life to all the people around you (Jn. 7.37-39).
We don’t have to go to the far corners of the globe to fulfill our calling as witnesses for Christ. The world is all around us every day, and we’ve been sent to it. Embrace your Personal Mission Field the way Jesus and Paul did, and you’ll begin to be a more confident and consistent witness in no time.
For reflection or discussion
1. Meditate on John 20.21. In what ways are you currently reflecting this in your life?
2. Meditate on Matthew 28.18-20. What is your responsibility toward the believers in your area of influence? How about to the lost people in your area of influence?
3. Meditate on John 7.37-39. If you were such a fountain, how would you expect this to affect your Personal Mission Field?
Next steps - Preparation: Have you identified your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video (click here), then download the worksheet and get started embracing your calling as a witness for Christ.
T. M. Moore
“The Confident Witness” is one of six studies that make up the core of our online course, Mission Partners. Preview this course at The Ailbe Seminary by clicking here.Mission Partners is one of the courses in our Certificate for Kingdom Leadership curriculum, which will open for registration on January 1, 2019. For an introduction and overview of that curriculum, click here.
How confident are you in your ability to share the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom? Our book, The Gospel of the Kingdom, can help you get your witness and testimony in proper working order, so that you can be a confident witness in your own Personal Mission Field. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.