My goal in this series is our greater joy in Jesus, even in complex struggles intellectually, emotionally, relationally, etc. So, each time I will offer a buffet on 8 ‘P’s of good news. Chew and savor whatever helps your joy in Jesus. “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)
Joy comes by Life from God, through God, and for God as revealed in the Bible. (Romans 11:33-36) The Places of Christ is the sixth ‘P’ of that good news. Our last mini-series on the Purpose of Christ focused on God calling us in to Himself for worship. Now, we turn to the proper follow-up: sending His people into the world to live and teach His good news to the lost and hurting. Check it out.
Yet, we tend to define and seek places for our purposes. You may remember the analogies we’ve been using, comparing the gospel to paradigms of basketball, racing, or playing in a band. It’s one thing for us to come in to play or others to come watch us play. It’s an entirely different thing for the players go out after the game, race, or concert to help someone else succeed at what they love for the other person’s own joy to eventually to do the same for even more. That’s what discipleship is supposed to be: people loving Jesus so much that they go places to help others delight in Him, too, perpetuating that momentum of love in action. In fact, the places to which we repeatedly go are so tied to our current sense of purpose that those places often reveal who or what we truly love most or are seeking most. My Mom and I talk more specifically about the clear need for good news in the places to which we go. You can listen to our conversation on the video below.
So, the places to which we feel called are always tied to our sense of purpose. For example, if my greatest desire is to stay safe, I will seek out low-risk places. But if I want attention, I’ll look for places where I can stand out more easily. If I really want to be liked, I’ll go where my strengths are more likely to be appreciated or where my friends typically are. If I want to have a greater sense of control, I may seek relative chaos I can improve or relative order I can maintain. You get the idea. And an even stronger indication of our sense of purpose is when we reach out to recruit others to join us.
God’s purpose for each of us is to walk with Him in love, because He is the epitome of love. And when we follow Jesus, the Son of God, by faith in Him, we will also go to places where others are and walk with them in love, teaching and helping them to live and enjoy the same joy in Jesus. Isn’t that what we do for anyone or anything we truly esteem as the greatest good? So, one of the questions we should ask is “where do I repeatedly go to seek my purpose and recruit others to seek the same?” The gym? Anywhere private? Any place fun? The web? Overtime at work? Consider this video and the discussion prompts afterward.
- Most Jews went around Samaria, but Jesus had to go through in John 4. Why?
- Matthew 8:28 says part of the Gadarenes were impassible. Why did Jesus go?
- In Matthew 10:1-42, Jesus calls His disciples to go to difficult places. Why?