Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing, in 2023
New year’s resolutions are a common talking point in early January of each year. They range from more prayer to weight loss and everything in between!
But how about, for 2023, a special focus on ‘keeping the main thing the main thing’?
Minoring on majors and majoring on minors is a recipe for, at worse, a failed life and at best, a frustrated life – never reaching the glorious goal clearly visible before us.
So, let’s all agree, in 2023, to keep the main thing the main thing.
And what is the main thing? Well, it’s quite simple! In fact, it never changes from one year to the next and won’t until Jesus returns! It’s MISSION! Or in our SM terminology, it’s ‘living a life on mission with God’.
Year after year, as followers of Jesus, we all face the same challenge of staying focused on ‘keeping mission the main thing’. As the year progresses, we all too often fall victim to the age-old enemy of God’s people – ‘distractions.’
The parable of the Sower has some seed falling on thorny ground. Thorns, Jesus said, choke the seed, making it unfruitful. Thorns don’t kill the seed; they just make it fruitless. The tragedy of this of course, is glaring! A fruitless life is what Jesus has saved us from and a fruitful life is what Jesus has saved us for! The thorns, Jesus says, are the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth, the desire for other things! In other words, DISTRACTIONS! We can so easily be distracted by things of this ‘fallen’ world away from God’s ‘future’ world, by this temporal age away from God’s eternal age and, by old creation away from new creation!
Distractions, very subtly, draw us back to the ‘old wine’ that seems to taste better, than the ‘new wine’, as the year progresses.
The life we live, with God and for God, in this present world has consequences for our life with God in his future world. Paul says that we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account for the life we have lived (2 Cor 5:10).
Living a life on mission with God is what God has called all believers to. Distractions are not things to be laughed off as being inevitable or of having little consequence. Distractions are dangerous. They are our enemies not our friends. They must be identified, resisted, and conquered.
So, let me give you three important things to pursue, in 2023, that will help us all stay on track in ‘living a life on mission with God’ and, Lord willing, find the ‘thorns of distractions’ far less appealing than perhaps we have in previous years.
Firstly, pursue a life of holiness.
Paul says to Titus, ‘God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).
This world is a battle-ground not a play-ground! Grace is not so we can ‘enjoy’ the cycle of forgiveness only to sin again with the expectation of more forgiveness. Grace is God’s power to live a holy life and not to repeatedly, sin. Living a life on mission with God has zero tolerance towards sin! No, this is not legalism! This is an accurate Biblical definition of GRACE, in both its expectation and power, as Paul here is pointing out.
Secondly, pursue a life of following Jesus.
Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me (Jn 10:27).
What is Jesus saying to you in 2023? What are the visions and dreams he is birthing in your heart and mind (Ac 2:17)? Remember, we don’t work FOR God we work WITH God. Keeping in step with the Spirit is not just a good idea, it’s a God idea! We know when distractions have won when we find ourselves working for God and not with God!
And thirdly, pursue a Life on Mission with God, according to the ‘Ministry Call’ God has placed upon your life!
I have often said, ‘I love to see the unreached reached but I don’t love to reach the unreached.’ I realize this sounds shocking, but I know my calling. I know what my calling is, and I know what it is not. When I have opportunity, I share the gospel, but my ‘calling’ to which I am focused and to which I dedicate my time and energy is, mobilization!
2023 is going to be a defining year for SM and for mobilization. It’s going to be a year where:
• our mobilizing message becomes crystal clear
• our message begins resonating with churches and all God’s people in new and meaningful ways, and
• the ministry of mobilization begins to be taken seriously as a ‘God ministry’ to the Body of Christ!
Our International Conference in September this year in Chiang Mai, Thailand will be where we pull all this together and showcase this to our SM family. We can then begin communicating the message of mission in new and exciting ways to a Church that, especially in the last few years, has for the most part, been distracted from the main thing!
Let’s collectively make a new year’s resolution to make mission the main thing for 2023. To serve with God in the context of our ‘calling as mobilizers’ and to avoid the destructive ‘thorns’ of distractions at all cost!
Remember, the Great Commission will not happen without the Great Mobilization!
May 2023 be our best year yet, for God’s glory!