During the winter months, with Christmas in December, many churches and Christian ministries are reaching out to the community and making greater efforts to share the Gospel to their families, friends and neighbors. And as the new year approaches, they are also beginning to rallying for spring break outreach and summer missions.
As Christians, we are all called to be missionaries. Maybe not all in the classical sense but in our everyday context, we are called to be the salt and light of Christ. And so, it felt appropriate to discuss what the correct attitude is for the Christian missionary. And to make things fun, I’ve created an acronym to remember it by. The missionary’s attitude is the attitude of C.H.R.I.S.T.
The attitudes we hold in our hearts is our choice. You alone choose what attitude you want to hold in your heart! In many ways, our attitude can become two things. It can become a lock on the doors of our hearts. Or it can be a key to the doors of heaven.
The kind of attitude you choose to hold in your hearts today will determine (1) your joy and (2) you becoming a blessing to others. And through the acronym of CHRIST, I’d like to share with you some attitudes that will let joy enter in and let the blessings flow out.
- The missionary’s attitude is CONFIDENT
- The missionary’s attitude is HUMBLE
- The missionary’s attitude is READY
- The missionary’s attitude INITIATES
- The missionary’s attitude is SENSITIVE
- The missionary’s attitude is TEACHABLE
What kind of attitude can open the doors of our hearts? What kind of attitude can open the doors of heaven? It is the attitude of CHRIST!
These six attitudes will help you on the right path towards gaining the attitude of CHRIST. Obviously, there are many more kinds of attitudes that are Christ-like but I digress.
4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
This is confidence in the fact that God has chosen you. He has saved you. It is not a confidence in our self. It is not a confidence of this world. It is a confidence from the Holy Spirit and God’s power to save. This confidence leads us to boldness and full conviction. When we have this kind of confidence, we lose sight of ourselves and all we are able to see is God himself in all his glory and power.
This CONFIDENT attitude leads us to:
- Talk to strangers about how Jesus changed our lives.
- Tell people the truth in love about sin and salvation in Christ alone!
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ JesusPhilippians 2:1-5
There is a way to discern right and wrong humility. The right kind of humility is the kind that doesn’t focus on yourself or others. The right kind of humility always focuses on God. The right kind of humility doesn’t focus on how bad you are. The right kind of humility focuses on how good God is!
When we have this kind of humility, it never ends in sorrow. There can be sadness at first but the right humility always ends with a heart of thanksgiving and joy.
This HUMBLE attitude leads us to:
- Consider others more than ourselves.
- Serve with a joyful heart.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.Ephesians 6:10-18
Every single moment of our lives, there is a spiritual battle going on. When we are sleeping or not paying attention, Satan doesn’t sleep. Satan is doing everything he can to steal, kill and destroy the people of God. Now that can be a good motivation for us to always be ready. But we must also remember that God doesn’t sleep either. And God is on a whole different level than Satan.
We must be ready and put on the full armor of God. The battle doesn’t begin when we start talking to people about Jesus or when we arrive at our missions sites and soup kitchens. The battle has already begun just as we are reading this at this moment.
This READY attitude leads us to:
- See, avoid and fight against temptation and lies of Satan.
- Be there for one another so we do not fall or stumble.
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:6-7
We’ve all been given a powerful gift. It is the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the one who comforts us. Guides us. Reminds us. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us.
But conviction left alone will burn out. We must fan into flame the convictions of the Holy Spirit.
If we want our passion for God and love for others to grow, we must give the fire more fuel to burn. We must go. We must walk in obedience to God’s Word. We must act and not just say we will.
This INITIATING attitude leads us to:
- Give 110% not just in Panama but even today to keep the fire going.
- Stay focused when we are tired and actively look to be supporting and encouraging those around us.
19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Sensitive not in the sense of being emotional or easily distressed. Sensitive in the sense of being understanding and compassionate. It is someone who does everything they can to be winsome, persuasive, and clear about the Gospel. By this, I don’t mean blatantly lying about things just to make something seem more attractive.
You don’t need to make God seem more attractive. God is the only one who truly fully comprehends and knows fully well how attractive and glorious and wonderful he is. And God is the only one who opens up hearts and draws us near to him.
This SENSITIVE attitude leads us to:
- Be prayerful and respectful in our engagement of different cultures
- Be serious about our mission and do everything we can to not hinder God’s work
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:14-17
We are not used by God to reach the lost because we are some super Christians. We are not spreading the Gospel because we have everything figured out in our lives. We are missionaries because despite everything that we lack, God’s Word is able to make us complete and equipped for every good work. Amen!
The attitude we hold in our hearts is our choice. You alone choose what attitude you want to hold in your heart!
What kind of attitude will you choose today? Sometimes, the right attitude doesn’t come naturally. But truth doesn’t change because you don’t feel it naturally. That’s why we need to check our attitude every day. That’s why we need to pray and ask God to change our hearts and change our attitudes. And the beauty of our faith is that we don’t need to wrestle with our attitudes alone. Let’s all take the initiative together.