Continue our Faith Trip
cf. Matthew 10:16-23
Last month I described an exciting faith trip I took the summer of 1973, which was intended to follow the pattern and instructions given in Matthew 10:1-15. The impact of that trip on my life has been a
continual source of encouragement. However, the disciples faith trip does not represent all that Jesus said about those He sent as disciples, and sent out to make disciples.
In Matthew 10:16 Jesus says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” This verse sounds ominous for those whom Jesus sends out. The odds of a sheep surviving for long amid wolves is not too great. Sheep are slow, easily frightened, and eat grass. Wolves are fast, ravenous, and they eat sheep! There’s not much chance of survival for the poor little sheep.
Often, I feel myself as this sheep when I try to carry out the current faith trip Christ has given to me. It is inconvenient to pray regularly for my neighbors. I am timid to introduce myself to my neighbors when we meet outside. It requires effort to remember the basic facts about their families (Names, Jobs, Interests). Often I must make the first attempt to become acquainted. Then, when I mix in a spiritual conversation the relationship tends to freeze up. It all seems as if the wolf is moving in and about to devour.
But, Jesus doesn’t leave us in this state. He gives us the following simple instructions: to be wise as serpents; to be innocent as doves; to depend upon the Holy Spirit; and to keep at the faith trip He has given each of use (Matthew 10:16-23). These four instructions will free us to carry out our faith trip. Our approach to people needs to be with the wisdom gained by listening to and praying for people. Our lives must reflect the hypocrisy free life that Christ lived. Christlike lives combined with wisdom is a very powerful way to gain an opening for spiritual conservations. We must trust the Holy Spirit to be working in the lives of people, for courage, and the right words at the right time. We must also be people of persistence no matter the outcome. If we run into a road block with one neighbor, keep praying for them, but also move on to another neighbor.
If you feel that going to people, serving them, sharing Christ, and making disciples can be hazardous duty, you are correct. Our enemy will attack us, people will misunderstand us, malign us, oppose us, and accuse us. But the wisdom God gives, the working of the Holy Spirit, and our walk with Jesus will enable us to continue to carry out His mission, “our faith trip”, until Jesus Christ returns, or we are called home.
What are the results of our individual “faith trip”? Lives are saved for eternity, disciples are made, Grace Fellowship grows, the church of Christ grows, and best of all we will be busy with the work of the Kingdom of God until Christ returns!
(image: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)