January 11, 2007 - Jesus Saves


Jesus saves
By John Fischer

Having a mission in life is what being purpose driven is all about. Being someone’s mission in life is something else entirely. It’s an important distinction.

Have you ever been someone’s mission in life? Maybe it was to get you to do something or go somewhere, or make some change in your life. The only way you can accept something like this is if you know, deep down, the person on a mission really loves you and wants the best for you even though you think he or she might be wrong about what that is. If you are uncertain about how the person on a mission feels about you, you will undoubtedly be devalued by this experience. You will feel that it isn’t you the person cares about as much as his or her mission for you that is paramount. You will feel like an agenda on the person’s “to-do” list or a target of the person’s hunt.

I know of good relationships between believers and unbelievers, and I know of bad. The good ones are the result of a genuine loving and accepting of each other that goes both ways. These relationships can last a long time (a lifetime, for that matter) without any change in either one’s position. For that to happen, does the believer have to keep his or her beliefs secret or in the background? Not at all. The deciding factor will be not that these two are working toward agreement, but that they love and respect each other regardless. If the love and respect is strong, the believer can relate anything about personal faith to the other.

This is the model Christians need to follow for relationships with those who are not Christians – even those who are strongly anti-Christian. This is especially true for long-term relationships with neighbors, co-workers, and family members who share differing beliefs. Sometimes I wonder if our primary motive for evangelism is to get people on our side, or to love them into the Kingdom of eternal life.

This is when a sense of mission for Christians sometimes has a tendency to go somewhat awry. When it becomes our mission to save people, people can easily become targets, projects, assignments, or serve a host of other utilitarian purposes. The problem with this is that people become a means to an end. The end is to save everyone, to preach to everyone, to warn everyone, or in some way fulfill an obligation.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: We don’t save anyone. Only Jesus saves. Our calling is to love God and our neighbors. In the process of loving our neighbors, we will inevitably introduce them to Jesus. (There’s no way you can love someone and not tell them about the most important thing in your life.) What happens then is God’s business, but we will be a witness to what we know of God to those who are compelled to ask. In the meantime, our mission is to keep on loving our neighbors, regardless.

Love is truly our highest calling. It relates to all people saved or unsaved, regardless of religion, race, or gender. Love as God loves and you will not go wrong. When love is the goal, everything else gets done in the process.

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