Without a doubt, the greatest invitation (besides the invitation to Christ himself) that we as believers have received is the invitation to build the church, to be apart of God’s plan in bringing salvation and restoration to the world – we are called to be participators in His purpose.
Often I’ve found though, for many believers, this invitation can be daunting and overwhelming. The thought of carrying the responsibility of representing Christ can seem like a huge weight to carry. What we must understand is that Jesus did not leave as lacking or alone. This was never intended to be a solo act.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
Psalm 127:1 NIV
I’ve found that our company effects our confidence. It’s amazing how our countenance and our courage get boosted when we’re in good company. This is how Christ has called us to live… with Him! He didn’t come down to earth, set an example for us to follow and then say… “Now you do it.” He came down, set an example and then said… “Now, let’s do it!”
Our purpose and calling is not a solo act, it’s a divine duet with Christ himself.
19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord was working with them and confirming the word by the signs that followed.
Mark 16:19-20 NIV
I love this scripture because it beautifully describes what this partnership looks like. Sometimes we can think Jesus commissioned us to reach the world and build the church, said “good luck” to us and then disappeared into Heaven as if he was watching on, waiting to see how we go, wondering if we’ll perform well or whether we’ll make a mistake. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The fact is, yes, Jesus did ascend into Heaven, but he also remained by our side – if you’re a sports fan like me, it means he is our captain, as well as our coach. He wants us to win, He wants YOU to win! He’s not like an x-factor judge watching on to see how perfect we are, he’s right there with us, in our corner, and when we do fall over (which will all will), he picks up and keeps us moving forward – God is not waiting to see if you fail, when we win, He wins! No one wants you to succeed in life more than Him.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
When we try to fulfil God’s plan and purpose on our own and without his help, we’ll collapse, we won’t last. Jesus invites us to parter with Him, to be “yoked” together with Him.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term, a “yoke” is a timber beam that is used to connect oxen and other animals together in order to unite them in a purpose and multiply their efforts.
Often I’ve noticed, and even heard it preached, that when you yoke a weak oxen (us) and a strong oxen (Christ) together, the strong oxen compensates for the weak because of the connection. Although this thought has some merit, it isn’t true, the truth is, when this happens, the two oxen end up walking around in circles because the weak is overpowered by the strong.
As believers, we can’t afford to forever see ourselves as the weak oxen. In 2 Corinthians, scripture says “Do not be unevenly yoked”, and what we must know is that Jesus doesn’t break his own rule. When we are yoked together with Christ, it’s not uneven… He transforms us to be a strong oxen, just like Him. In this world, we are like Him.
We are not only participators in his purpose, but also in His power! We are not just called to be apart of what Jesus is doing, but more importantly, we’re called to be apart of who He is. He is not just standing beside us, He’s in us, not just next to us, but within us.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV
We are living in a world that has never been more connected, yet the irony is, it’s a generation that has never felt more alone and isolated. We need to know God is with us, the world needs to know God is with them.
Hope this has helped!