Evaluating Your Sentness - How do We Live Like Jesus Now?
Classical Greek philosopher, Socrates, famously said, "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being." When was the last time you examined, or evaluated, your Christian life? Fortunately there's Jesus.
In John 20:21 Jesus appears to his disciples for the first time after his resurrection with these words: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Clearly, Jesus words are a call to live like him and to do what he did. But do we realize he sends us out to do what he did and to live as he did, once we decide to follow him? All indications are that too few actually do. Fortunately there's Jesus.
Jesus fully expected his followers to live as he was sent. How then did Jesus live and what did he do that should, or actually must, inform and define our lives as his followers? Answering that question can go a long way toward evaluating our sentness.
You no doubt know the famous old Christian question "what would Jesus do?" It is offered as a way to begin to think about how Jesus might handle any given issue or challenge we face. It's a good question to ask but it is insufficient. There are issues and challenges we face that Jesus, or the Bible, does not directly answer.
The better question to ask is: "what did Jesus do?"
Jesus gave us much to consider in how he lived and modeled life for this followers. In fact, the Apostle John tells us he did so many things they could not all be recorded (John 21:25). But knowing some of the things that Jesus did do will serve us well in living like him, at least trying to do it better than we have.
I am presently reading Marvin Newell's book "Commissioned - What Jesus wants you to know as you go." Writing about John 20:21 in Chapter 2 titled "The Model for Mission", Newell provides a list of 14 statements Jesus made about himself, which can help to answer the question of the "what did Jesus do?"
Newell suggests we should incorporate these 14 points into our personal lives and mission. I think they can serve as a good metric to examine our life by. Knowing these 14 is a good place to begin to answer to the question, "How do we live like Jesus?"
To the 14 points, I have added a question to help evaluate sentness. Ask yourself how you are doing with respect to each point:
Mission: "For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost." (Luke 19:10)..."so I am sending you." - Q: Does my life reflect a desire to seek and save the lost?
Motivation: "I work for the honor of the one who sent me" (John 7:18 paraphrase)...."so I am sending you." - Q: Does my life move consistently in the direction of bringing honor to the Father?
Objective: "I come that may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10)...."so I am sending you." - Q: Does my life seek to produce Jesus' life in others?
Offer: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)..."so I am sending you" Q: Does my life serve to alleviate the burdens of others?
Focus: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinner (to repentance) (Matthew 9:13),,."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life reflect change that others can emulate?
Will: "My food is to the the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work" John 4:34...."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life demonstrate I live for God's purposes?
Relationships: "The Son of Man has come....as a friend of tax collectors and sinners." (Luke 7:34)..."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life touch the lives of others who don't know Jesus?
Teamwork: "And he appointed twelve so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach" (Mark 3:14)...."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life serve well the team God has given me, where he has put me?
Servanthood: "...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve" (Matthew 20:28))...so I am sending you." Q: Does my life show a servant attitude?
Personality: "...Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29)..."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life prove that I am always learning?
Approval: "....I always do the things that are pleasing to him" (Joh 8:29)...."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life find purpose in living to please the Father?
Ownership: "....the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (John 8:20)...."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life demonstrate that I hold things loosely knowing they are temporary but hold tightly to Jesus in all things?
Compassion: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:26)..."so I am sending you." Q: Does my life demonstrate compassion for those less fortunate?
Finishing Well: "I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you sent me to do." (John 17:4"..."so I am sending you. Q: Does my life glorify God by living to do all things well?
These are some of the things that Jesus did do. These 14 points can serve as a metric to guide our lives by. I hope you did honestly examine your life against the questions? It is only be doing so that we can being to live like Jesus. Evaluating myself against this list, tells me I have much work to do. Fortunately there's Jesus.
"Jesus was sent on a mission of love and love must be our primary motivation for mission because it was his for coming (John 13:34).Jesus was sent on a mercy mission and sends us to be merciful (Luke 6:36). Sent as a sacrifice, he calls us to a life of sacrifice (Luke 14:27). He was sent as a servant and calls us to the life of a servant (Mark 9:35). Jesus was sent as a reconciler and we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). He was sent with a sense of urgency for the least, last and lost (see the 3 parables of Luke 15) and so we are likewise 'sent.'"
"Jesus was sent as the “Prince of Peace” and sends us out in his “Peace.” His peace is not simply the cessation of hostility among peoples but a sense of wholeness for all peoples, what the Hebrews called shalom. His“Peace” is to be our message as well (Acts 10:36). He was also sent with a sense of anticipation for greater things to come and we should be motivated by the greater glory still to be revealed (John 14:12)."
Knowing the answer to the question, "what did Jesus do?" goes a long way toward answering the question "how do we live like Jesus?" These certainly are not new ideas but they are important ones to inform us daily, to help us evaluate our sentness.
Understanding life from a place of sentness moves us beyond the materialistic and meaningless into a place of motivated mission with appreciation of the magnitude of all Christ is for us, with us, through us toward living sent today. Fortunately there's Jesus.
What else can be added to the list of metrics to evaluate sentness?
Visit my personal ministry website @ www.LivingSentToday.org. There you can follow the release of my new book - "God I.N.C. - Finding Your Place in the Family Business," which will be released as a FREE ebook.