Loving God's Calling (4)

We need to master four disciplines.

Loving God (13)

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom…
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the L
ORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90.12, 16, 17

How the Kingdom comes
The great joy of our Lord Jesus Christ is to give the Kingdom of God to His people (cf. Dan. 7.13-18). This Kingdom belonged to Jesus from before the foundations of the world, yet it was only given to Him after He had completed His great work of redemption and resurrection. The Kingdom of God is the cosmic rule of King Jesus unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). The Kingdom of God thus presents a vision of immensity, beauty, expansiveness, growth and development, goodness and hope, compassion and healing, truth and justice that can be known nowhere else.

Jesus received this Kingdom from His Father, and He has given it to us, who believe in Him. It is a Kingdom that grows like leaven, preserves like salt, illuminates like light, transforms like a seed, and will last forever. Jesus commands us to seek this Kingdom as the defining priority of every aspect of our lives (Matt. 6.33); and He instructs us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6.10). He has sent us into the world to continue His work of embodying, proclaiming, and bringing near the Kingdom of God; and He has given us His Spirit that we may have understanding and power to fulfill our calling.

If we love Jesus, we will love the calling He has given to us. We will make the Kingdom turn in every area of our lives, and devote ourselves to boasting about Jesus, growing in Him and helping others grow as well, telling and retelling His Good News as often as we can, and looking for ways to expand that part of the Kingdom which Jesus has entrusted to our stewardship.

Embracing and working your Personal Mission Field is how the Kingdom comes on earth. It’s how it comes in you, as you embrace the Lord’s calling and work at growing in love for Him; and it’s how the Kingdom comes into the world, through the good works you do that bring righteousness, peace, and joy into all your relationships, roles, and responsibilities.

We are all tenant farmers in the field of the world, which is the Kingdom of God. The more faithfully and diligently we work our part of that field, the more we will realize the joy of our salvation, the more we will increase in love for God, and the more His Kingdom will come in and through us, on earth as it is in heaven.

Carrying out this glad calling requires the continuous use and improvement of four disciplines.

The discipline of preparation
First, we must prepare continually. None of us comes with all the vision and equipment we need to fulfill the goals of our Personal Mission Field. We must be equipped for such ministry (Eph. 4.12), and this means submitting to God’s Word day by day, searching the Scriptures diligently to grow in love for God and to discover the good works essential for seeking and advancing His Kingdom.

In a very real sense, we’re always preparing for the Kingdom. We plan our time, so that we make the best use of it (Eph. 5.15-17). We pray about everything, giving thanks and supplicating the Lord for whatever the next moment or opportunity may require (Phil. 4.6, 7). We try to learn new skills – how to serve others and build them up; how to use our speech to impart the grace of God (Col. 4.6); and what we must do so that all our work, down to the most ordinary aspect of it, will be excellent and God-honoring (1 Cor. 10.31).

We must prepare each day in prayer, and remain in prayer throughout the day, so that we can draw on the Word and Presence of God to give us the grace we need to serve Him (Heb. 4.16). The better we prepare, the more God will grant us His wisdom, that we may serve Him well as we seek His Kingdom and glory.

The discipline of demonstration
The second discipline is that of demonstration. We need to show people the reality of the Kingdom by all we say and do, by how we order our lives, by the various ways we honor God with our possessions, and by the love we show to our neighbors. Jesus has called us to be witnesses first of all (Acts 1.8), and this entails living in such a manner that Jesus increases in us, and we and all our selfish, sinful ways decrease day by day (Jn. 3.30).

Unless we demonstrate the reality of Jesus, alive within us, whatever we might say about Him will have minimal effect.

The discipline of conversation
But we must talk about Jesus as well, filling our Personal Mission Field with boasting about the Lord, and making sure that everyone to whom the Lord has sent us hears the Good News about Christ and His Kingdom.

So we need, in the third place, to develop the discipline of conversation. Conversation is simply two people talking about something they have in common, or want to learn, or are willing to share. Christian conversation should not be merely frivolous, self-centered, condemning, or gossipy. We can learn to use our speech to build others up and to channel the grace of God to them. But this doesn’t just happen, and we need to work hard at becoming Christians whose speech communicates hope, brings affirmation, leads the way to hope, and brings comfort, assurance, and encouragement to others.

The discipline of transformation
Finally, we need to have a transformation mindset, and work for transformation in everything we do. The Lord Jesus, exalted in glory at the right hand of the Father, is making all things new (Rev. 21.5). We must resist the mindset that says, “good enough”, “status quo”, or “not possible.” All things are possible with God. We can be increasingly transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We can bring transforming grace and truth to bear on the culture in which we are engaged. We can transform conversations, relationships, and everything in our Personal Mission Field if we can learn to think and live toward the exceedingly abundant more of God (Eph. 3.20). His power, at work within us, can lead us into works of transformation that will surprise and delight us, and be a source of grace and truth and Kingdom-coming to our world.

Keep in mind the goals Paul set for us in working our Personal Mission Field. Then take up these disciplines, day by day and situation by situation, and see how the Lord can work in and through you for His glory. If we love Jesus, we’ll do whatever it takes to show Him that we love Him. We’ll seek to grow in love for Him; and we will in fact grow in love for Him as we embrace His calling and take up the work of our Personal Mission Field every day of our lives.

For reflection
1.  In which of these disciplines do you most need to improve?

2.  What could you do to make better and more consistent use of these disciplines?

3.  How can Christians help each other to be more consistent in working our Personal Mission Fields?

Next steps – Transformation: Ask God to give you one thing you can do to improve your use of each of these disciplines today.

T. M. Moore

At the website
If you haven’t visited our website lately, here’s a sample of what you’re missing: Stan Gale on abiding in Christ; John Nunnikhoven’s study of all things; Mike Slay on Romans; Bruce Van Patter on “something new”; and an abundance of free resources to help you grow in the Lord (click the Resources tab).

The bookstore
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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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore