This was from a blog I wrote in 2018, titled Giants Will Fall. As we delve into this week’s topic (and 3rd and final giant), these words seem appropriate:
“If I haven’t offended you yet or poked at a sensitive spot, just wait…I’m about to. And remember, these are my giants as much as anyone else. The giant of comfort is a beast that thrives on one main objective: instilling fear in its victims. Think about any major step you’ve taken or been impressed to take in your walk with the Lord. In every step, I can guarantee fear played a role in determining whether or not you moved forward. If you are in a place right now where you ponder the implications for a step of faith, fear is right there trying to make you doubt. Comfort says stay where it’s safe. Don’t venture out into the unknown. It’s plagued the American church for far too long and I for one am tired of comfortable and lazy Christians. Church, let’s not stay there this year. Let’s be bold.”
As we wrap up Conquering Giants this week, I don’t believe we can truly conquer any giants and inherit the land God has for us without becoming uncomfortable. There is a level of safety and security that many of us crave if we are honest with ourselves. It’s a natural desire of our flesh…to have our needs met, to have predictability, and to know that tomorrow is going to be ok. I understand that and believe me when I say every time I’ve had to take any step of faith, the urge to resist has always been strong. The fact is, I don’t believe that urge ever goes away.
If we follow the New Testament from Jesus’ birth to death and resurrection, the Gospel accounts conclude with the Great Commission. These are Jesus’ final words to His followers. The charge He gives is the impetus that causes the rest of the New Testament to unfold. From the Book of Acts to every letter either written by Paul, Peter, or otherwise, the Great Commission underscores the whole narrative:
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19,20
If we can take Jesus’ words and bring them into our present-day context, we see that the Great Commission is still relevant and necessary. It’s the heartbeat of the local church and beyond that, it’s the heartbeat of each believer possessing the Holy Spirit. Yes there is an uncomfortable piece to it, but commandments and charges never come without first challenging us in some way.
1. The Great Commission begins with “Go”
We should never be content just changing who we are without affecting the world around us. When Jesus said “Go,” He was telling the disciples not to be comfortable and not to stay where it was safe. The quantifier “make disciples of all nations” left little room for doubt. The disciples had to take the Gospel to the ends of the Earth, wherever the land was inhabited. There is no difference for us today. We take Christ into our mission-fields of daily life: from our homes and neighborhoods to our schools and to our workplaces and the marketplace…each place we set foot upon is an opportunity to be His hands and feet. Beyond physical localities, virtual places are areas to display Christ as well (i.e. social and digital media).
We have experienced His Spirit moving upon our own lives. If that decision was real, then there is fruit and evidence of it…not just internally but also externally as we declare Christ to others. It is not easy, it is not always popular, and sometimes it can cost us. But in the end, nothing in this world is worth our silence if Jesus has given us the words of life. Brothers and sisters, we must go.
2. Making disciples is not optional
We cannot “remain on the couch” spiritually-speaking if we are going to have any impact as Jesus intended. As Christians, we can decry the state of our world all day long. But we rarely look in the mirror and do honest check of our hearts and motives. If the world is broken, we know the One who can fix it. If it needs healing, we have access to the Healer. We often think those real jobs of proclaiming Christ and making disciples are left for the professionals: the pastors, the missionaries, the evangelists. But nowhere in the Great Commission are there stipulations on who should be making Christ-followers. It’s EVERYONE’S job and there are no exceptions.
We must recognize the great honor and privilege we have of bearing witness to Christ. We’ve just spent 2 weeks talking about relationship and identity. We have been given such a gift in being able to receive the Holy Spirit and be called children of God. If we truly start wrapping our heads around what and Who we have access to…well, look out world! We can make a difference and start seeing lives changed through the impact of the Good News.
3. Christ is with you
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Lately I’ve been wrestling again with fear as I’ve thought about faith steps the Lord is calling me to take. Even with the changes my family and I have made in recent years, I’m finding the faith God is calling me to possess now is beyond the faith I needed to move in the first place. So I’ve been clinging extra tightly to the promises of Jesus throughout Scripture (like John 16:33). What gives me great peace is that the Great Commission is concluded with the phrase “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” What might have shaken me even a year or more ago, doesn’t shake me as much knowing that Christ is with me. The steps He is calling me to take as I trust Him and follow His command to “Go” are taken with an assurance that He is truly with me.
I’m not certain what tomorrow brings for me. And you do not know what it brings for you either. But Jesus is there with you and He goes before you. Take peace in that. Rest in that. Let your heart be calmed by knowing the Savior has got you and has never (and will never) leave you nor forsake you. Take the time to look back and realize He has always been there. In doing that, acknowledge that whatever bold step He might now be leading you to take is no foolish whim. Indeed He is with you and He is calling you out to proclaim His goodness. He knows you can do it…He wouldn’t have called you otherwise!
Friends, I’ve loved being able to rattle our cages a little through these last 3 weeks. I do not say anything without it first being the place where my heart is at. Truth be told, I still wrestle with each of these giants. I still think that my good works are somehow what God wants. I still look for identity in things that are outside of Christ. And I want to be safe and comfortable because I don’t like change and I don’t take well to not knowing how things will work out. But in all of that, I have to put my flesh aside. I have to resign my own control over things and say “God, You’ve got this.” It’s not a one-and-down deal. It’s daily waking up and saying, “God this is Your day, make it Your plans and not mine.” And tomorrow, I have to do it all over again.
If we can do anything here, let it be the building up of each other and the encouragement to say “Keep going. Keep fighting. Run hard and finish strong.” Many are watching your race, seeing if you will really finish well. Many are wondering if you will succumb to the giants. And some are simply watching and saying “I want to follow in your steps.” Let’s be a witness to all those who gaze in and see us. Let’s go forward, never allowing ourselves to remain comfortable. In so doing, we will conquer giants and take the land!
I love you guys! Be blessed today.
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17