Embracing Our Calling
Part 4

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It is foolish to imagine that we can be disciples of a revolutionary without being revolutionary ourselves. As Christians, we are not called to simply keep our heads low, refusing to draw attention or distinguish ourselves from a culture that is hostile to our faith. Instead, we are to imitate Jesus, whose teaching and lifestyle was so counter cultural that it captured everyone’s attention—from the lowliest beggar to the most powerful leaders.

We are to serve as cultural beacons of light within our communities. Jesus tells His followers, “‘You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house’” (Matt. 5:14–15). As followers of Christ, we are called to reflect the unquenchable light that Jesus brought into the world (John 1:4–5).

The apostle Paul depicts this calling as an ambassadorship: “We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (2 Cor. 5:20). In other words, we are tasked with a responsibility to represent God’s heart to those around us. God has strong opinions about how we live our lives, conduct our business, and govern our nation, and He has expressed these in the Bible. Therefore, God expects His ambassadors to faithfully represent His thoughts on moral issues within our culture.

When we are silent on moral matters, we fail to accurately represent Christ’s heart. However, not all will appreciate being confronted by the heart of Christ. Paul warns, “[God] uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. … But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom” (2 Cor. 2:14b, 15b–16).

The smell of death is repulsive, often evoking a visceral reaction. People either flee the smell or seek to purge the source of the odor. This is the imagery Paul uses to describe our ministry because he was under no delusion that people would appreciate being confronted with the heart of Christ. He was keenly aware that such confrontation exposes the corruption of sin, often eliciting violent reactions. Nonetheless, as cultural beacons of light, God has tasked us with shining His light upon the darkness of sin in our communities. Often, this will not win the favor of those around us; nevertheless, we readily assume this responsibility “with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us” (2 Cor. 2. 17). Therefore, becoming God’s cultural change agents includes embracing our call to serve as God’s representatives.

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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.