In the West the focus of most believers is on “what God can do for me.” If we listen to the lyrics of most contemporary Christian songs, we hear about God saving us, healing us, restoring us, delivering us from our trials; about God’s mercy and grace upon us in the time of our need. The same can be said of most of the preaching that we hear from our pulpits. The focus is on God’s help and blessings in this life on earth. This is all well and good, but it should only be for starters.
Much of the Church, especially in the West, has forgotten that we are “blessed to be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2-3). We focus on the blessings of God and how to secure them for ourselves and loved ones. But we pay mostly lip service to the purpose of God’s blessings in our lives. In terms of our “being a blessing” we usually do not go much beyond tithing and for the more serious, doing whatever we can to help out at church in our spare time. Sadly, this is not a serious problem for many churches. Our “being a blessing,” however, must go far beyond simply doing what is convenient for us. It is said that we are saved to serve.
According to Scripture the Church is to be the instrument of the fulfilment of the Great Commission. We are to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and make disciples of all nations. As an unstoppable army we are commanded to declare war on the kingdom of darkness (Matthew 28:18-20). But the Church spends most of its time learning to secure God’s blessings in this life, whether material or spiritual. Currently there are positive emphases on being true worshippers, on intimacy with God, and on restoration. But these also can dead end in just another self-indulgent spiritual high for the Church if they do not result in obedience to the command of God—carrying out the Great Commission. Soldiers do not stay in boot camp forever; their goal is victory on the battlefield. When is the Church going to graduate from boot camp and actually begin to take ground from the enemy? It’s been two thousand years since we were given our marching orders.
We focus on having faith in God and receiving blessings from him. This should only be the beginning. We must then advance to doing the works that Jesus did. We must exercise our faith and take the battle for souls to the enemy in the spirit and power of Elijah. It is better to give than to receive. And by that we are not simply referring to the giving of our finances, but to giving our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.
“Discipleship” should not simply be a class that a believer attends. Rather it is equipping that should ultimately result in the believer not only becoming like Jesus, but actually doing the works that Jesus did—preaching the gospel, healing the sick, casting out demons, and making disciples.