As I said in last week’s article, the apostle Paul models the circle of missional living that should define our lives. Paul’s missional calling began with personal worship which fueled discipleship which led to his zeal for the mission of Christ.
Last week we looked at a passage from Romans 11-12 that illustrates one of his expressions of worship that leads to a declaration of discipleship then flows into a call to missions. Let’s look at another passage in which Paul followed this same progression:
Worship: Ephesians 3:14-21, HCSB
I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
[I pray] that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith.
[I pray that] you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you—to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Discipleship: Ephesians 4:1-3, HCSB
I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds [us].
Again, we see an expression of true worship followed by a call to discipleship. In each of the above examples the word, “therefore,” is a trampoline that propels us from powerful worship into the call to personal discipleship.
I propose to you that the circle of missional living for all Christians is worship-discipleship-mission. We must understand that the worship-discipleship-mission cycle is not a step-by-step, one-two-three process. These three elements flow into each other and yet are inter-connected. Each element continually gives meaning to the others. When we grasp what true worship is, it will deepen our discipleship. When we grow deeper in discipleship, we will worship more authentically. True worship and discipleship compel us to join God on mission. When we join God everyday and every moment on mission, the results flow back into worship and discipleship. Can you comprehend how these three elements should work in the Christian life?
Here is how that circle worked in Paul’s life: Paul the missionary was first and foremost a worshiper of God. His worship expressed his deep, transforming love for God. This all-encompassing love led him to yield to God as student and follower. Then, as a disciple, his life overflowed into missionary action. In turn, Paul’s discipleship and mission energized his worship.
May YOU, too, experience the continuous circle of worship-discipleship-mission flowing in your daily life in Christ! – Mark Powers
POST YOUR COMMENTS: It’s your turn! How has this circle been expressed in your own life? Share a testimony with us by clicking on the comment link. I look forward to seeing your comments! MP