In the first post of this series, I shared that Philippians 2:1-11 shows how Jesus Christ is the greatest missionary of all. Beginning with this post, I want to encourage us to follow Christ’s example in regards to developing a missionary mindset.
First, if we want to follow the example of Christ, we must count the cost when it comes to missions. In Philippians 2:6, Paul tells us that “though (Jesus) was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” The word translated as “form” is the Greek word “morphe”, which does not mean shape, but it means “essence or true/exact nature”. In other words, Jesus was God (see John 1:1, Hebrews 1:3). And as God the Son, Jesus could have been perfectly just to remain in the heavenly realm. Yet, there was a deadly problem with mankind: sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23). Without some type of intervention by God, mankind had no hope of eternal life. Therefore, God the Father gave God the Son a mission, which is what the angel announces to Joseph in Matthew 1:21: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
So, Jesus had a choice to make. He could remain in heaven while the world dies and goes to hell, or He could humble himself, become obedient to the Father, and carry out His mission. In essence, Jesus had to count the cost. And thankfully, it was a no-brainer. Again, Philippians 2:6 says that although he was in the form of God, “he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” The word “grasped” means to hold on to something at all costs. It’s like Linus who always grasped his security blanket. He wouldn’t let go of it for any reason. So, Jesus decided that enjoying the pleasures of heaven and all of his divine attributes as God was not something to grasp at the cost of allowing the world to die and go to hell. A decision for which I will be forever grateful!
Just as Jesus had to count the cost of His mission, we must also count the cost of the mission that He has given to us, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). We must ask ourselves questions such as:
- Which is more important, holding on to our comforts, or seeing enemies of God becoming children of God?
- Do we grasp the comfort of not wanting to be rejected by others so we say nothing about the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Do we grasp the comfort of living in America so we are unwilling to go to the nations and tell them about Jesus?
- Do we grasp the comfort of living close to family so we are unwilling to be led by the Lord about where He might send us?
- Do we grasp the comfort of not wanting to go to dangerous neighborhoods or nations?
- Do we grasp the comfort of our material possessions so we are unable to give to missions efforts locally, nationally, and internationally?
Jesus counted the cost of His mission, and as His followers, we must also count the cost of the mission. How might God lead you to sacrifice your comforts in order to be on mission for Him? Think about practical and specific ways to do so. If you are having a difficult time thinking of ways, don’t be discouraged! In the remaining posts in this series, we will flesh this idea out even more. And always, feel free to contact me for ideas!