Hanging Out or Hanging On

We who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11.

Why do you go to church? Is it just to soak up a few feel-good stories? Is it to hear some Scripture? Or is it just a good place to hang out on Sunday morning?

People hang out. At the mall. At the gas station. They don’t have a purpose. They don’t have a plan. They text and chat and laugh and tell stories about each other. They don’t have a mission.

Do you know what your mission is in life? Do you know why you’re here in the flesh on the earth? Sometimes when we look into the dark night sky and witness the glory of God in the countless stars, we ask those questions. And if we don’t have a firm grip on what our true mission in life is, we won’t be able to answer those questions.

“We who live,” Paul said, live “so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

That’s the singular mission for us all–to glorify God. However we have to be on mission if we are to succeed. Being on mission isn’t easy. In fact it’s a bit threatening and can be scary at times.

To be on mission we must have a clear understanding of our purpose for life. Paul expresses a clear vision of his purpose in life (and ours) in the Scripture today. Our purpose, the reason we are here, is to glorify God. We must be motivated to accomplish His will. We have to want to. We must feel a deep seeded passion for remaining in His will and doing His will. And we must have a distinct awareness of His presence. God is always present, but we’re not always aware of His presence. If we’re not aware of being in His presence, we will ultimately fail to comprehend our mission. It is not some of what we do and some of what God does that accomplishes His will. It is God doing everything through us.

Jesus was “on mission” 24/7 because he was on mission with His Father. In fact Jesus didn’t do anything His Father didn’t tell him to do. If we’re going to be effective to accomplish our mission, we need to stay focused on our Savior. The Lord must be Lord of everything in your life, not just some things. If the Lord is not Lord of everything in your life you will lose focus on your mission.

Being on mission with Jesus, however, is not just hanging around. It’s tough work and we can experience excruciating emotional and spiritual pain in life. Just like Jesus we are going to face betrayal, sometimes from those we think are out closest and dearest friends. Sometimes we will face denial. Others will lie about us. Sometimes some people will even deny their denial. Sometimes we will face false accusations from friends, family or co-workers.

What will you do when these things happen to you? What have you done in the past when you experienced these painful life events? Do you just hang around and let the circumstances dictate your response? Or do you respond by clinging to your mission to glorify God in any situation.

Jesus faced all three. He faced betrayal from Judas (the “friend” who had traveled with Jesus and, at once, loved him). He faced denial from Peter (three times). Jesus faced public accusations from Annas and the High Priest. And Jesus confronted His accusers with the Truth.

Jesus was on mission. He had a very clear understanding of His responsibilities. He was motivated to accomplish His Father’s will, and He had a powerful awareness of the presence of God at all times. We can choose to do the same and spend our lives on mission instead of just hanging out.