Most of us understand that why we should live missionally, but we can be fuzzy on how to live missionally. How should we live?
The biggest misconception comes with the mindset that only someone who is a full or part time minister does ministry; a missionary goes on mission trips, a youth minister reaches kids, a pastor disciples new Christians. While pastors and missionaries further the Kingdom as their vocation, all Christians are expected to be missionaries. If we give our life to Christ, we must live as He lived.
So how did Jesus live while here on earth? To put it simply, He loved God and loved people. From His relationship with the Father came a life of one who authentically loved others, was a servant to all, and built others up as He walked with them in their life.
In the book of 1 Timothy, Paul gives a young leader practical ministry advice. Timothy was leading the church in Ephesus. At this point it had been about 33 years since Jesus was preaching and teaching on the earth. In that short amount of time, Christianity was on the rise, and thousands were coming to know Jesus.
Paul knew that Timothy needed wisdom. Paul communicated a command to Timothy that we all must apply no matter what chapter of life we are in. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV).
The ongoing struggle for a Christian is to pay attention to the way that he lives and what he believes about God. Paul shared this with Timothy because the life and doctrine of believers directly affects their evangelistic efforts. Timothy was watched by everyone, both those who were waiting for him to make a mistake and those who wanted to know God.
Like Timothy, we all have influence over others. Your lifestyle and beliefs are important. If the Good News doesn’t seem good to us, then why would anyone want Jesus?
So the question is this: How do we keep a watch on our life and doctrine? We daily devote ourselves to prayer and reading of Scripture. We need time everyday to get alone with God and have him work on our hearts. As we get alone with God, He with His heavenly vantage point is able to see every aspect of our heart and mind and shape us into His son’s image.
No matter what chapter of life you are currently in, pay close attention on the way you live and what you say about Jesus. Our decisions affect not only our eternity but also our friends, family and people we encounter every day.
What are some of the ways you watch your life and doctrine?