Where do we begin? Our character begins to follow Christ’s lead as we interact with people through love. His lead is incarnate. This means we are to live among and rub shoulders with those who need us. We can’t love at a distance. You cannot commute to a calling.
We too must become “incarnational.” This is the essence of living a life of love and justice – entering into the daily reality of others and reflecting the love of God into their lives. Jesus did not attempt to meet every need or delegate every responsibility but instead choose to meet specific people, in specific places, and met specific needs as He came in contact with them. From this flows everything else.
Why is this difficult? The simplicity of Christ’s lead is difficult because our old nature is content with indirect ministries and avoids the incarnate. If you have to “do ministry,” the old self prefers that you to invest at a distance and never really get involved with people. We are keen to keep it to books, radio messages, or the maintenance of institutions. We’ll just send checks, get monastic or entertain, but won’t get directly involved with people because it’s messy, draining and high risk. Our old nature is hard at work blocking incarnate ministry. All manner of rationale and distraction are used to divert people from being involved with others. Fear of the unknown creeps in and we doubt where, when and how to be incarnate. While leaning on our own strength, we feel inadequate and at times intimidated.
How do we begin? In Christ, God makes us adequate in the situation He’s created, but we forget that. We fail to remember that Jesus is still at work today and is beckoning us to join him. All God asks is that we bring to Him whatever position, possession, or potential that He has already blessed us with. He compensates for everything we need, and as we wade in, He works in us and through us. Only incarnate ministry develops this kind of opportunity. Only there do we change. As we give ourselves fully to the incarnate work of the Lord, we participate in and experience the presence of the Kingdom.
God’s plan for love and justice to be seen in the world is perfect. Each of us have been uniquely called, uniquely prepared, and uniquely placed according to His design. He has blessed us with purpose. The things you do, the things you care about, your talents and gifts matter and they can be used to make a difference in the lives of others. They were meant to be used for Kingdom pursuits, but we must first choose to follow Christ’s lead and simply love people enough to go to them. “Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Perhaps G.K. Chesterton said it best, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”
Focus on the Biblical text:
Philippians 2:5-11: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
John 17:17-18: Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.