Embracing a Daunting Task
Part 1

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“Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matt. 28:19–20a). This great commission frames our Christian responsibility and is at the heart of becoming a cultural change agent, but somewhere along the line, many of us have adopted the notion that we can outsource this task to others. By financing missionaries, ministries, and the church, we assume our share of the responsibility to evangelize the world is complete, but this is not what Jesus had in mind. We know this because the great commission is merely a reminder of what Jesus had already taught His followers. Importantly, this previous teaching makes it clear that our responsibility cannot be outsourced to others because the focus is not on the outcome but the process.

We see this in Matthew 5:1–14 where Jesus calls us to be “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth.” These are agents that transform the world around them because of their nature. Light illuminates—displacing darkness and exposing what otherwise could not be seen. Similarly, salt both flavors and sanitizes—it purges impurities and stops decay. Both fundamentally change that with which they come into contact. Likewise, as God’s people, our interaction with the world around us ought to fundamentally change its culture as we expose spiritual lies and purge error, all with the flavor of God’s love and kindness. But how do we accomplish this?

Becoming God’s cultural change agents is a daunting task. Such an overwhelming responsibility can be immobilizing, or it can be invigorating. After all, who doesn’t want to change the world for the better?

In order not to become paralyzed by the immensity of our assignment, it will be helpful if we consider the steps necessary to accomplish this one at a time. This will be a lengthy process. Even a cursory overview of what the Bible says about the matter will take some time, but this is a good thing. What a blessing it is that God has not assigned us such a daunting task without instructions!

To help us with these instructions, God has sent us His Holy Spirit to teach and to guide us into all truth. Jesus tells His followers, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26). Moreover, this is a gift that, when embraced, will produce in us “peace of mind and heart” (John 14:27). We need not fear this assignment, so let’s begin an incredible journey of discovery as we embrace this daunting task of becoming God’s cultural change agents!

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.