By Hasmik Babayan
Hasmik serves on the SVM2 International Facilitation Team and currently lives among the unreached.
The Beauty of the Incarnation in Mission
Recently my mind has been busy with some thoughts over the following questions: Who are Christians today and how do they respond to God’s incarnation, how do they understand it? Is God’s incarnation relevant to their mission work?
Are they truly interested in resembling the person Christ, or they are still busy with their own stuff? Who is God for Christians? How do Christians understand the meaning of mission today, in this so fast moving century? Are they in or out of tune with the NEED? Do they really practice the principle of incarnation in mission or they are still working with out-of-date tools?
In Matt. 5:13 Jesus said to his listeners,
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (ESV)
Jesus’ words are very strong. Basically what He suggests is that those children of God who lose or have lost their saltiness are no longer good for anything except for the garbage. Those Christians who no longer have the tastiness of salt-seasoning, are for no use, they should be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Quite a strong language! But this is Christ’s words and Christ’s suggestion.
In Matt. 5:48 we read, “But you must always act like your Father in heaven.” (CEV)
Jesus said that we always should act like the Father, which is the same as to be as perfect as the Father is. I have seen often believers finding excuses to justify their unbelief toward this verse. Some of believers are trying to twist the meaning of this verse saying that Jesus didn’t really mean perfect resemblance.
I usually call this an identity crisis-believers don’t know about their abilities, about the depth of their soul and power of their mind. If it wasn’t possible for a human being to perfectly resemble Father, Jesus wouldn’t suggest this. Instead he would suggest, “But you must sometimes (occasionally, now and then, from time to time) act like your Father in heaven.”
The crisis of identity among believers has made even worse the already existing crisis among the lost. Believers are quite lost in not knowing that perfect resemblance is perfectly possible. But perfect resemblance of the Father is not cheap, it is way too costly.
The way God perfectly entered into human reality, the same way humans can enter into God’s reality. The way God incarnated into human flesh, the same way humans can incarnate into God’s flesh, i.e., into Jesus’ way of life. The way God empted himself from his divinity in order to incarnate, the same way humans can empty themselves from their humanity in order to incarnate into their TRUE humanity.
So, what do we do? The greatest question is-how can the lost in the body of Christ minister to the lost in the world? Impossible! There is a huge hunger and famine (spiritual, emotional, psychological) in the world, there is a lot pain and suffering, lot dangers and discomfort, a lot abuse and hate in the world. Impossible! Lost believers cannot minister to the lost in the world.
People in the world are not weak, and not necessary all evil. There are many with strong characters seeking after the truth. The hunger of the lost people in the world is so strong and real that they cannot buy a fake food. This simply will not satisfy their hanger!
The destruction and hate of lost people in the world is so real that they will not and cannot buy cheap theology, either take cheap grace, or listen to cheap talks about God, or eat the cheap food offered. They say No to out-of-date talks?
We read in Luke 14:26-30, “You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”
Finally, let us put an end to cheap talks, cheap grace, cheap mission, cheap faith, cheap god, and cheap love. Jesus made it clear that following His path is a costly business. And He also made it clear not to be a lukewarm.
We read in Rev. 3:16, “You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit.” (The Message)
So, if you cannot build and finish the house, as Jesus would say, don’t even start. Don’t make people laugh at you! There is no middle ground. If you are going to build, then count the cost and go all the way. Let Jesus set your heart ablaze, burning for Him!