In yesterday's service we had some guests share their story about how God moved them from typical Asian American suburban church-going life to taking their family with four young children to Southeast Asia as missionaries. This divine disruption was several years and stages in the making, but they are engaging in a work that is life-giving to others and life-flourishing in themselves: God is using them to build His Kingdom. This is God's intention for us all to experience. They shared a short video clip from a well-known and popular preacher who talked about how it's not enough to study God's Word - we are called to respond to His Word with our lives.
Raj (not his real name) shared about how God used older brothers to invest in his life. Jay (not her real name) shared about the women God had used to impact her own life. In response to God's provisions for them, they heard 1) God's call to invest in others' spiritual growth, and 2) God's call to move to Asia. While we are not all called to go overseas, we are all called to be involved in making disciples.
How can we be disciple-makers? The hesitancy we may verbalize might be that we do not feel ready to make disciples. But the apostle Paul gives us the simplest explanation of what it means to be involved in this most important work of our lives: "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV). It's simple, but let's break it down even further:
1. Follow Christ.
2. Let others follow you as you follow Christ.
We're human, though, and we struggle with simple things (like flossing every night or keeping our homes clean). I struggle with things every day - I never have a perfect day following Jesus! But Paul struggled, too (see 2 Corinthians 12)! We do not have to be perfect disciples to make disciples! We never will "arrive" at our destination until we get to heaven, so we can toss out that notion that we have to be mature before we can help others.
It's not an issue of position; it's an issue of direction! Are you headed toward Christ? Do you recognize your need for Jesus' grace? If the answer is yes, then God can use you to help others, even though you're not perfect in your performance.
Ultimately, God uses our lives as a testament to His grace and love for everyone. He does that through our brokenness, our flaws, and our neediness.
Ah, but there's another issue - we do not like to admit our needs and faults. In an Instagram culture where everyone has an opinion and things look so crafted and beautiful, or coming from an Asian academic culture where every missed point is critiqued and analyzed, or just coming from having my mom inspect and comment on my physical appearance first-thing every time I visited home during my college and young adult years, it's hard to let our blemishes show. What can help us, what disrupts such a culture of critique and judgment?
Grace. It's not that God doesn't know, see, or acknowledge our faults. He's still a holy God and wants us to grow and mature and become better people, to actually become like Jesus. But He never pushes us away. He draws us in and covers us with grace and loves us even as He sees us as we truly are.
When our false securities are disrupted, when our pride and hesitation are disrupted, when our puffed-up sense of self worth is pricked, when our insecurities are calmed, we find true grace in God's love for us.
And then we cannot help but share it with others!