What Does Loving My Neighbor Mean for Me?

“At its best, ‘missional’ describes not a special activity of the church but the very essence and identity of the church as it takes up its role in God’s story in the context of its culture and participates in God’s mission to the world.” Michael Goheen, A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church and the Biblical Story

Party 1950s StyleThe gospel of grace offers a picture of celebration. Joy. Abundance. Hope. Peace. As Jesus grips our hearts more and more each day and frees us from sins power and snare, we are freed. Sometimes, we don't realize that we are still living in bondage. Sometimes, we forget that the very autonomy we so crave is an indulgence of our former selves. But there is good news! God frees us to risk our energy and trust by inviting others into our lives. How?

The Gospel Frees Us to Need Others - As our faith increases, and the gospel has greater influence over us, we will consciously push back against the notion that we do not have to need others. We will more fully recognize the patterns and practices we have put in place in our lives that have led to autonomy. We will recognize that we are incomplete until we invite others to know us and be known by us.

The Gospel Frees Us to Serve Others - As our faith increases, and the gospel has greater influence over us, we will consciously push back against the notion that we do not have to serve others sacrificially. We will see that ordering our lives in such a way that we have room to serve others will involve sacrificing our own comfort, time, and priorities for the sake of others.

The Gospel Frees Us to Love Others - As our faith increases, and the gospel has greater influence over us, we will consciously push back against the notion that we do not have to love others. We will resist the temptations of suburbia USA that allows us to avoid those whom we do not like, and would not choose to live, work, and play next to. Instead, we will go to the hard places in order to sacrificially love the unlovely.

But the way we do that is to walk the hard way of the cross. To realize that the utter and complete sacrifice of Jesus was not just the way to salvation, but the model of a saved life. Tomorrow we will think about how we as God's people can live out application to Romans 12:1.