By Ryan Shaw
As we consider the church’s calling to fulfill the Great Commission, one of the first mental hurdles to overcome are the great challenges standing before us. We want to see the church mobilized to action, what is keeping her back?
What do we do with the difficulties in the world? Hatred, killing, poverty, pain and much more. What about the problems in the church? Complacency, compromise, a self-absorbed Christianity and more.
It is easy to become discouraged. Instead of looking upon the obstacles, however, Jesus invites us to look upon Himself, stirring faith that He is bigger than any challenging circumstance faced.
We find this dilemma in Numbers 13. Moses sends twelve spies to survey the promised land. After some time the twelve return with a mixed report. Ten of the spies bring a negative report highlighting all that stands in the way and the seeming impossibility of taking the land.
Caleb and Joshua arise with a “different spirit” declaring the land can be taken because of the promise of God, not the real circumstances within the land. The Ten focused on the negative circumstances while the two relied on the God who is the ultimate promise keeper.
It is true that at this very moment the whole “land” is before us as it was for the twelve so long ago. What are we going to do? What will be our response? Will we shrink back in fear as the ten did or stand up in faith as Joshua and Caleb did?
Everything depends on our perspective. Do we see the walled cities and the giants in the land or do we see God?
The realities encountered were real just as the challenges are today. This is not in dispute. The question lies in whether we trust in what we see or in God who brings victory in the midst of challenging circumstances.
The way of Kingdom advancement is through hidden victory. It is not a public affair for all to gaze upon. It comes cloaked in the pressure of hardship and difficulty. Jesus’ own victory on the cross was of this sort. Are we to expect anything less?
There is only one means of empowering to move forward. Cultivating victorious faith born of a clear vision of God Himself!
Joshua and Caleb had developed a “history” with God – watching Him prove Himself faithful over and over again. Their faith was developed by seeing God as He is and knowing something of His ways.
It is only faith that leads to victory in eternal issues. Sight can accomplish small things but faith is the necessary key for eternal things. Joshua and Caleb saw the great challenges yet fully recognized God’s superiority over them.
We too want to have awareness of challenges to seeing the church mobilized to reach unreached people groups with thriving church planting movements spreading within them. We do so not with fear or disillusionment but an inner burning that God is greater than the obstacles.
Here are a few challenges the body of Christ faces related to being mobilized with action:
- Lack of Unified Vision For the Great Commission
- Lack of Rightly Allocating Funds and Resources
- Various False Teachings of What Christianity Is Meant To Be
- Mission Involvement Seen As Only for the Experts and Specialists
- Cultural Expectations From Family
- Fear Itself
- Spiritual Immaturity
- Wrong Expectations of What Serving as a Message Bearer Is Like