Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
It's that time of year when everyone is cleaning up from Christmas and getting ready to start fresh in the new year. For me, this has included completely emptying my pantry and re-organizing along with purging our playroom and my boys' rooms. I do not usually get hit with the spring cleaning bug but I definitely always feel the urge for a major clean out after Christmas and before the New Year. Anyone else feel this? Its also that time when we start to set goals and make plans for the upcoming year. For many of you, that will include a goal to commit to a daily quiet time, to prayer, to memorizing Scripture, or to another discipline. I challenge each of you as we head into 2016 to take these verses known as "The Great Commission" and write them over your 2016 as a way to live. As you think about the new year and the goals that you set for yourself and for your family, I pray that one of your goals would be to share your faith with people you come in contact with throughout your year and to encourage others in their faith.
I think so often, Christians want to ignore these verses because of the first phrase, "go and make disciples of all nations." For some reason, we assume this means God expects us to leave everything we know, move to a foreign country, and become a missionary. But, that is not the case. When the resurrected Jesus gave this command to his remaining eleven disciples, he knew they would be going about their lives and going into the towns and cities around them and as they did, He told them to make disciples of those people and to teach them about Jesus. Many of us in the church today, have accepted Christ as our Savior and some of us have even been baptized and then we just sort of stop there. We do not feel the urgency to share the Gospel or to tell others about the life change that has occurred in us. But, the calling in our lives as Christians is so much more than taking care of ourselves, it is more than just making sure we are saved. Jesus calls us to share that with others and with the world.
So, as we enter 2016, let me encourage you to think more about sharing your faith with the people you will encounter this year. Jesus does not call you to do this alone. The call to make disciples, to baptize them, and to teach them is not a solo mission, it is meant to be carried out in community. When a person is baptized, it is a one-time event of that person publicly identifying their lives with Jesus, but teaching how to follow Jesus and learning how to follow Jesus take a lifetime. This is why we need community. As a body of believers, we come together with our different gifts and different abilities and we are able to teach others to obey all Jesus has commanded us. And it is within that body of believers that we ourselves learn and are taught how to know Jesus better, how to better understand his life and his commands to us. As Christians, we are called to share our faith whether it is with our family, our neighbors, people in our community, or traveling or moving to a foreign country. Sharing your faith not only gives someone else an opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus Christ but it will also deepen your own relationship with Jesus as you rely on Him more to obey. And, He promises in these verses to be with you always! I pray as 2016 begins you will commit to find courage, obedience, and willingness to take a step out of your comfort zone and to share the Gospel, to share your faith more often with the people you will interact with this year.
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Above image hand lettered by Nicole Baldridge of Nicole Baldridge Designs find her work on IG @nicolebaldridgedesigns