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The Temptation is Strong…

We’re a missionary family, sent by God to represent Jesus Christ in a world that is in desperate need of Him… a world that needs to be rescued from the grips of the enemy.

We must have our act together if we have been tasked with such monumentally important work… right?

Sorry to disappoint you but this is not the case – and God knows it. My wife and I have arguments, our kids are in the midst of their teenage years (you know what that means) and we operate out of our flesh… a lot.

The temptation as a missionary family is to put forth the idea that we have arrived in our walk of faith, everything is beautiful all the time and you should look to us for what a super healthy, spiritually robust family looks like. After all, we’re a missionary family, sent by the Creator of the universe to exemplify His perfect love to a broken world. The problem is, we are broken people who also live in this broken world.

In my ministry travels, I often hear people say that they don’t go to church or associate with Christian communities because they can’t measure up to what they perceive as a group of people who have “arrived”. They think they have to get “fixed” before they could be a part of a church.

Why would people think about Christian community in this way?

Maybe it’s because the temptation is strong to keep up appearances that everything is great, life is good, I’m happy all the time, I don’t have any problems etc. After all, if we are disciples of Jesus Christ, we must have moved beyond all of our fleshly “junk” right?

This is often a more damaging perception than good. The truth is that we decided to follow Jesus to “become” more like Him, not because we were already up to His perfect standards. We go to church and live in a community of believers so we can grow in our walk with Him together, encouraging and coming alongside one another when things aren’t going well.

It’s ok to let other people know that we fail, that we don’t measure up. The most important thing is that we let each other know that we’re rabidly committed to our pursuit of Christ-likeness… we get back on the proverbial horse after we get bucked off or voluntarily remove ourselves from the saddle because of our sinful nature.

Don’t get me wrong, we believe we are being transformed… but we ain’t there yet. We believe we are “co-heirs” with Jesus (Romans 8:17) and that we are “Holy Chosen and Beloved” (Colossians 3:12) and we are becoming more like Jesus.

I believe however that the world, our friends, family, co-workers etc., need to know that being a follower of Jesus does not mean you have it all together and everything figured out. People relate to other people they have connection with; commonality. And if we’re being real and truthful, we all struggle at times, we all mess things up, we all operate out of the flesh sometimes… even us mission families. It’s in the midst of this brokenness, however, that we turn to our Lord because that’s when we need Jesus the most.
We are not perfect, but He is.

 

Steve Libert