“Be Jesus, wherever Jesus says to be!” That – I explained to my audience – was the essence of the missionary call.
There’s much in that little saying but – frankly – many years later I find myself, disagreeing with myself.
Inadvertently, I had placed too much emphasis on my effort to replicate the life of Christ. Yes, he has modelled the Christian life for us and yes, he calls us to obey his every command. However, he does not call us to do it in our own strength. Such striving is both futile and frustrating.
Writing to Christians, Watchman Nee wrote,
“Most of us can remember the day when we saw clearly that Christ died for us, and we ought to be equally clear as to the time when we saw that we died with Christ.”1
So – to misquote Shakespeare – are we “to be or not to be?” Properly speaking, in Christ we are no more. It is Christ who lives within. Paul said,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)
The Christian life is about Christ living in and through us. He is the (whole) vine, of which we are the branch (part).
So how would I describe the essence of the missionary call now?
Let Jesus be, wherever Jesus says to be.
1“The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Lee. (CLC Publications, Fort Washington, PA. 2014) can you check keno online