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Published on March 29th, 2012 | by Carl Simmons


We’re All on Mission

It’s true. And I didn’t unintentionally leave out the “a” above. But don’t take my word for it….

“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him – bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing”  (John 15:1-5, NET).

We wrap up our initial series on spiritual formation with this thought—although the first person you need to disciple is you, it isn’t just about you. It’s about a mission far bigger than that. So think about it:

  • How have you felt more connected to Jesus—or to other Christians—over the past few months?
  • How have you felt God pruning you over the last few months? What’s been the fruit of that process so far?
  • What’s one way you need to remain in Jesus, in a way you really haven’t up to now?

Put another way: What’s your mission right now? What’s God been showing you recently, and what do you think He wants you to do about it? How does it translate into your personal life? your relationships? your world?

Take some time to write down your thoughts now, if you can. Better yet, write down a specific commitment—again, if you can. Don’t approach this with the idea that you have to get everything just right. You’re a work in progress, and God knows that—because He’s the one who’s working in you. But capture as best as you can what God has been doing in your life, and what you sense God is leading you to do in response to that. Then, reflect on this passage and the questions that follow:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NET).

  • Over the past few months, how have you seen God working through the other people He’s put around you?
  • How have you seen some of the things God’s been teaching you about modeled by others? How has it inspired you to keep running the race (or to really start running it)?
  • How might these people support you, as you take the next steps God’s calling you to take?

If your responses to these questions inspire you to add to what you’ve already written down, go ahead and add it now.

Think once more about the people who came to mind—especially those people you’ve shared your lives, your struggles, and most important, the grace that God has shown each of us through Jesus. Take time now to thank God for each of those people, how He’s been working inside and through each of them, and His plans for each of them. Ask God to put more people in your path to help keep you on the path—to encourage you, to stick with you when you’re struggling, to help you work through what God’s trying to do in your life.

And ask God help you to be that person for others as well. And may He answer those prayers clearly and quickly.  



About the Author

Carl Simmons is the author of the 6-book study series Growing Out: From Disciples to Disciplers (Group). He's been a writer, editor, Christian, small-group leader, and husband to Marion for more than a quarter-century. Carl served as discipleship pastor at Living Word Church (C&MA), which began in their living room in West Milford, NJ, and moved to Loveland, CO in 2005. Learn more about Carl, and Growing Out, at his blog Lay It Down.

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