I think it’s really easy to read the Bible and see all the incredible stories and great acts of faith that people like Abraham, Rahab, Peter, Paul, Moses, and Noah made and say to ourselves, “Yeah… But that was a long time ago. God doesn’t really expect such faith from me.” And by simply writing off these stories as “Different day and different culture,” we actually end up missing out on all that God has in store for us.
I believe with all my heart that Christians are to live into the same type of faith that we see throughout Scripture. We are to be risk takers and world changers because we believe that the Creator of this world has called us to participate in his redemptive purposes for the world. But so often, our faith is little more than mental assent… We believe in Jesus, but we don’t always live for Jesus. We believe that Jesus lived, died, and resurrected, but how many of us only believe that to make sure we are covered when we die? So that we can avoid the bad place and get to the good place?
When following Jesus exists in mind only, with no action and discipline to actually follow Jesus in the way we structure our lives, we miss out on the purpose for which we were called. Jesus lays that purpose out pretty clearly for us in Matthew 28…
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
I don’t know if you were paying attention or not, but that’s a purpose of action. Go… Make Disciples… Baptize them… Teach them… Five actions that Jesus outlines as our purpose. And for sure, these actions are often fulfilled in different ways. Sometimes its fulfilled with community service, intense prayer experiences, rigorous Bible study, or just showing up for your neighbor’s party… But, however the purpose is fulfilled, it’s fulfilled with some type of action. Praying for your friend to know Jesus is action. Studying Scripture to know God so that you can answer questions for others is action. Serving your community is action. Showing up is action.
Faith in Jesus requires action. It’s not enough to let our faith exist in mind only. We have to actively pursue God and pursue others if we are going to fulfill our purpose. The Bible is not just about people who took great risks so that we could be amazed… The Bible is full of stories about people taking great risks so that we could be encouraged to do the same.
Justo Gonzalez is a Christian Historian and in his book, A History of Christianity he writes,
“…Evangelism did not take place in church services, but rather in kitchens, shops, and markets. Sure there were some who held more academic type debates in their education centers… But the fact remains that most converts were made by anonymous Christians whose witness led others to their faith… It is clear that the enormous spread of the Gospel in those first centuries was not due to full-time missionaries, but rather to the many Christians who traveled for other reasons — slaves, merchants, exiles condemned to work in the mines, and the like.”
The good news of Jesus spread because common everyday people got active in their faith. The purpose, “To go make disciples,” was fulfilled because people like you and me got off the couch, out of the chair, turned off the TV, and took Jesus with them to the marketplace, to their jobs, and to their friends. And the risk they took to share the love of Jesus with their world, changed the whole world.
Friends, our purpose as followers of Jesus demands action. Don’t let 2021 pass you by without making an effort to help someone find and follow Jesus. Commit today to living an active faith so that the world might see Him.