Transforming our minds in missions
Over the past quarter, I have embraced a new identity in what it means to be a team member. Oftentimes, I assume the voice of reason. Other times, the voice of the writer who has to live the actual story, not just observe it from afar. Always, though, I am seeking to bring balance and fairness to my team as the Lord guides me to what His will is for the future and my role in it.
However, always serving at the pleasure of bringing balance and fairness to my team, I am becoming a staple in the missions reality God is pressing on my heart.
In thinking of my greatest difficulty, however, I would have to admit it is perhaps accepting that my time on the mission field is limited. Each day that passes here in Ecuador is one day less that I am afforded to spend here in these beautiful lands.
This is not to say that I am required to limit the extent of my impact, nor is this an excuse to be fixated on my remaining time in service. The truth behind it all, however—the real key to any progress made in the name of Christ—is to be transformed in a distinct way and allow His transformation to guide you toward His perfect will.
Romans 12:2 references this experience as a transformation of mind, the process of adopting a new identity as a follower of Christ and permitting Christ to change the way you think. This form of transformation also suggests that there is a state of mind or a worldview that must be rejected and replaced when a person’s way of thinking is changed.
Amazingly, the result of my transformation of thinking can be quite a burden to bear—a burden of responsibility and sincere conviction. Never failing to present itself in new interactions with people, this burden also propels me to re-evaluate my existing relationships. Oftentimes, my transformation of thinking presents a mind battle in the way I evaluate or respond to conflict or different points of view within my team.
From my own experiences, one thing has become unanimously clear for me: my cultural biases have taught me that I am in control of what I think or what worldview I assume. Romans 12 seems to suggest otherwise. Expounding further, the Scripture assures that if I allow Christ to transform my way of thinking, my ability to test and prove what God’s perfect will is for my life is my reward. That is to say, I am best able to know Christ’s will for me when I defer my worldview for His view for my life.
For example, I am often very convinced that in my ministry, my presence on the field as a missionary in and of itself is sufficient for me to have accomplished something substantial. While I measure my leaving home for a two-year spiritual journey as an "epic display of faith," especially as a writer and storyteller of God’s working here in Ecuador, I am clearly misguided. The Lord did not call me to be an island that ministers in isolation. Rather, He has coupled me with the manynational missionaries along whom I serve, as well as the people I minister to, and together we come together to pursue His will as servants of the cross.
What, then, does my daily focus become over the months ahead? How should I be directing my time in light of new worldview—Christ’s worldview? How am I yet to be transformedin my thinking in areas of my life that are most sensitive to me?
These are my guiding questions for the months ahead.
As Christians, we have a challenge that begs our constant attention, and we need to satisfy this in a way that brings clarity to our call and our purpose as followers, not just fans of Christ.
Our true potential can become lost in the overwhelming nature of daily life. We, however, must not allow this to become our reality. We must stand tall in the face of normality that aims to impede our true spiritual progress in Christ, armed with the belt of truth and shield of faith to overcome false schemes of the wicked one.
We must accept the responsibility to realise our true potential and the power of our dreams. Life’s busyness cannot blind us to this. Christ’s transformation of our way of thinking is meant to inspire and equip us to be selective of the many demands placed on our daily walk in this life and to replace our preexisting notions of value and culture and service—worldviews, to those that align with His will.