Dear Salvationist, the movement of This Army of Salvation is inexplicably wrapped up in the holiness of the body of Christ. Without this deep desire to be Holy and then to do holiness towards others, we become just another social service organization. In the midst of doing the most good, often times the danger of making the mission ours and ours alone can squelch the desire to seek after God’s mission first. How then shall we best serve the Lord and then others?
This is the main thrust of our pondering today, for I fear we as an Army have, in some ways, lost the “main thing” while in the pursuit of human approval and for our recognition of the works of our hands.
The question then becomes, “how can we shift our focus back to the mission of God?”
Here are four statements to help realign or replace our mission with God’s mission:
- Many lose the mission because surrender was never an option.
This statement becomes deeply personal, for at the heart of such a declaration the defensive walls are raised, and we begin to tune out…don’t tune out, instead stare it dead in the eyes. Is surrender an option…a REAL option in our hearts and lives?
We don’t like to submit to anything, because many times submission means we lose and someone else wins; but that’s not how God works. When we submit to God, His mission and purpose becomes our mission and purpose for being. We do not lose our identities in this, we gain our true new creation, the identity God has always intended for us to be. From the very beginning of our being, God was present and He saw what and who we could be, but it is in our surrender that this identity can only be fully realized.
Since we have free will, the notion to surrender to the mission of God instead of command the mission is a foreign notion. We want power to decide. We long to be the captains of our own ship, and so the mission might be lost at the expense of our identities and authority.
- An accomplished mission at the sacrifice of holiness is no mission worth living.
I once heard the story of a captain of a ship whose vessel had run aground and was in the process of sinking. Many people were frantically evacuating on lifeboats, while there were still who were trapped below. A noble captain would make every effort to save everyone, even to the point of one’s own life; but this captain discarded all sense of duty and ethics by abandoning his own ship, leaving the rest of the passengers to fend for themselves, many perished for lack of rescue.
Dear fellow Salvationists, there is the temptation in our army to do the most work instead of doing the most good, and in the process of doing the most work, the ethics of holiness could very well be abandoned. I have heard story after story of officers and soldiers who have neglected their first ministry (their children and family) at the expense of their appointment, mission and public perception (both in and out of the army leadership realm). Such a loss of first mission leads to a mission not worth living for!
We can grow the largest corps ministry in our territory and have lost everything if our own children turn from God because we failed to disciple them, and we left them to their own devices. We were never appointed by the Army to be people pleasers. We were never appointed to ministries apart from our families. We cannot be effective, holiness teachers apart from God’s holy mission…but we cannot accomplish mission without holy living to our first ministry.
Our focus, before we feed a hungry soul, and before we DO anything, is to live within the very presence of God. We must yearn and strive for such an image in our own life – the very image of Christ in us. Without the image of Christ visible and living through us, our hands and the good they may do, will only serve the temporary and not the eternal purpose for which we have been ordained and called.
3. Why mission? Whose mission? Happy Mission?
Why do we do the things we do? Is there a purpose behind it? Are we not called by God to go into all the world, making disciples of every people? (Matt. 28:19)
If we have to realign our mission, we first must go back to the original source of our that mission! Who is it that commands our lives, and longs for our surrender? Why is He calling us to this deeper purpose? How can this all be done?
Christ called not the qualified, but he qualified the called. We don’t need to wait for that degree to be completed before we commit to His mission. We don’t need to wait until we are older before we commit to His mission, nor should we delay for any other reason!! The God of Abraham and Moses and David, still calls us to go. The God the disciples served still calls us to go into all the world. Our mission hasn’t changed, but has our priorities? Have we neglected our first love? Have we become distracted by other missions and other “services” that really have nothing to do with His mission? If so, perhaps it’s time to discard those distractions…and once again follow Him.
4. Before, during and after = Holy!
How long must we be a holiness movement?
How long do we live this way?
This call to holiness in our service to God is not a temporary calling.
This is not a disguise we throw on to convince others or ourselves.
NO! This is a conscious decision to ACTUALLY live for Him in every moment of every day.
Our Very Breath.
It has been said, that the ancient writers of scripture wouldn’t even write the name of God because it was far too sacred. But if they had to record God within the text, they would use the letters YHWH or YHVH…Yahweh is spoken and you cannot help but speak it like you breathe. In other words, may the name of God be the VERY breath you take every. single. moment. of. every. day.
So before we live mission – YHWH…
While we live mission – YHWH…
After each particular mission or victory is accomplished – YHWH…
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
If we are to live and breathe the mission of our Army, we first must live and breathe the mission of God into our lungs, into our lives, into the very fibers of who we are…and whose we are.
Because let’s face, leaders can let us down…
Volunteers can let us down…
Employees can let us down…
Friends and fellow Salvationists can let us down…
But God will never fail us or forsake us!
Dear Salvation Army,
without Holiness, our mission fails.
without committed Soldiership, our plans fall apart.
without a sincere love of Christ, and for others, the great commission that is wrapped up in our Blood and Fire flag will become a lost cause by disinterested and apathetic individuals looking to fulfill only themselves. We are called to greater things. We have been commissioned for the whole world, not just our own little bubbles.
Perhaps it’s time to re-explore our mission and purpose once more.
“For Thy mission make me holy,
for Thy glory make me Thine
sanctify each moment fully
fill my life with love divine.”
Have I lost the sense of mission
That inspired my early zeal,
When the fire of thy commission
Did my dedication seal?
Let me hear thy tender pleading,
Let me see thy beckoning hand,
Let me feel thee gently leading
As I bow to thy command.
Lord, release that latent passion
Which in me has dormant lain;
Recreate a deep compassion
That will care and care again.
Needy souls are still my mission,
Sinners yet demand my love;
This must be my life’s ambition,
This alone my heart shall move.
Something more for our Army to ponder today.
God Bless You!