By Ryan Shaw
Message bearers are not developed in a vacuum. They do not all of a sudden appear. They are prepared by His hand over time, primarily through the channel of local ministries (local churches and campus ministry fellowships).
The Holy Spirit is seeking to align every local church and campus ministry fellowship with the priority of the Great Commission in this hour. Many individual local ministries in every nation are responding, educating and inspiring their members with vision, understanding and activation in their roles in the Great Commission.
They are being set on fire spiritually for the purpose of God globally in this generation. They are simultaneously coaching their members in wholehearted love for Jesus as the motivation for mission – compelled by His love and glory among all peoples. We call these “Great Commission Ministries.”
Apart from local ministries growing in this purpose it will be difficult for message bearers to be raised and scattered across cultural and societal barriers to unreached peoples with the Gospel of the Kingdom.
In the encounter where God stirred my heart to pray for 100,000 new message bearers of the highest spiritual quality, He highlighted the type of message bearer He was looking for, those marked by love.
The Great Commission is the natural outflow of a life marked by the Great Commandment. Matthew 22:35 – 37, “Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Human beings were created to enjoy deepest love relationship with Almighty God, meant to love God with all of our being. We can only begin to attain this by first recognizing that this deepest kind of love is the same way God loves us. 1 John 4:19 John declares, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
What does wholehearted devotion look like? An unconditional surrender to becoming like Jesus in every way, filled with His life and Spirit, marked by love and obedience and passionately pursuing His presence.
In SVM2 circles we call this “Abandoned Devotion” for Jesus. Let’s consider these words for a moment. “Abandoned,” means forsaking or forgetting someone or something. “Devotion,” refers to profound dedication or consecration.
Abandoned devotion is to forsake all else in pursuit of Jesus alone. We abandon those things we consider dear that interfere with wholeheartedly following and obeying Jesus.
“Abandoned” describes the totality and extent of our devotion. We are abandoned unto Him. Our devotion is no longer casual, comfortable or convenient. Devotion calls us to consecration that costs us our time, money, security, friends and family. We do not respond only when it is convenient, but surrender everything to Jesus.
Living this way provides the greatest measure of true freedom, satisfaction and contentment. God set up His Kingdom so that human beings live in submission to His rightful reign, experiencing the highest realm of true life possible.
Bearing His message among ethnic peoples in our own strength produces burnout, an all too common problem. It is impossible to sustain. Many primarily serve out of pity for others and their conditions. This appears noble and right yet is produced by human emotion.
Jesus wants genuine compassion burning in us for others, motivated by His love. We do not love others first. We love Him and out of the reservoir of this love obey His commands, loving others. If we try to love others in human capacities we fail.
This is a key to Abandoned Devotion. We serve ethnic peoples by His love overflowing out of us, not a mere desire to help people. This is one way to be sustained with endurance in the race set before us.
Jesus is worthy of love, trust, surrender, obedience, adoration, devotion, perseverance – even when it hurts. A crucial step for growing in abandoned devotion is overcoming the “self-life.”
The unyielding self stands in the way of obeying the Father. Self justifies its own way, standing for its rights, seeking its own glory. The self life includes all that springs from “self” – self-energy, self-complacency, self-pity, self-seeking, self-indulgence, sensitiveness, touchiness, resentment, self-defense, insecurity, self-consciousness, worry, fear, unbelief and more.
The power to deny self, submitting to the Father’s will, is the life Jesus came to provide. Though fully God and fully man, Jesus voluntarily emptied himself, completely submitting to the Father as an example for every human being to follow.
Jesus’ relinquishing of the self life wasn’t a burdensome calling. Laying aside rights by submitting to the Father’s will produced joy and confidence as peace flooded His soul. It’s tempting to think that following Jesus with abandoned devotion is too hard and the cost too high. Instead, it’s exactly the opposite.
- What are ways you can overcome the natural tendency to allow casual, comfortable, convenient Christianity to dominate your life?
- In what specific areas can you consecrate yourself afresh today to be wholly devoted to Jesus?