by Dave Miller
I will lead and see a movement.
This declaration is well above our pay grade. You may be thinking to yourself, wow that is a bad attitude. I agree. I have watched over and over as individuals run fast after movement only to burn out in disappointment. Some have thrown the kingdom principles of movement under the bus, when in actuality it wasn’t the principles that caused issue. It was treating a possibility as a personal promise.It is a possibility to lead and see a local movement of the Gospel. It is not a personal guarantee.
It dangerous to treat a possibility as God's promise. When the chance (human possibility) is swapped with a guarantee (God's promise), you will, sooner than later, find yourself exhausted and frustrated because you are betting on an assumption and operating on your own motivation, strength, and power. It is difficult to climb out of those assumption pits and find the will to start again. Each pit after that only compounds the desire to quit.
But there is another way…
When God wills, he communicates that desire through a promise.
As an example, God promised Abraham that he would be a great nation and the land on which he walked would be his inheritance. Abraham believed God’s promise, but Abraham never saw the result of that promise in his earthly life. It was possible, from Abraham’s perspective, to actually experience the promise firsthand, yet he didn’t.
Abraham is held as a standard of faith in the scripture, not because he sought to accomplish the possibility of the promise in his lifetime, but because he believed God’s promise even on God’s timetable. He hoped against hope, and believed against odds. He walked by faith in his role, sure of what was promised. He did not waver when he did not see it with his own eyes and he still passed his faith in God’s promise to the next generation.
When people will, we communicate that desire as a possibility.
God, as Sovereign, has the power to bring about what he promises every single time. We have the power to accomplish what is possible, but we do not have the power to guarantee the result. There will always be risk on our part. Every time I take a promise of God that is guaranteed to happen and is possible for me to see firsthand, and assume that I am promised to see it, I dig another assumption pit leading to exhaustion, frustration, blame and shame.
The promises of God are for God’s people.
A promise is often given in the scripture to the one who will not see it. Yet, it is our responsibility to pass the covenant promise on to the next generations. The promise will be brought about not by an individual, but by God through a covenant people who believe God. They are the ones who live the purpose of their generation and then are gathered to their fathers. God is the constant promise giver and keeper. His people are the participants, invited by God into the kingdom and the work of the kingdom through the Gospel.
The promise of individual salvation is even a communal concept. We are not saved as an individual to be left as an individual. We are saved by faith as an individual who is then included in the covenant people of God. We are guaranteed salvation “in Christ” alone by faith “in Christ.” The Father freely gives salvation to those who, by faith, walk in Christ. The Church is the kingdom community of those "in Christ". The Church is not individuals who self identify as Christian. The Church is, in other words, identified by who we follow together (Jesus), instead of how I, as an individual, choose to associate.
We must regain a communal understanding of the Great Commission in the West or we will continue to seek our own glory rather than participate in the Father’s glory. It will sideline our efforts, and derail our role. Competition will continue to run rampant because agendas, even those given by our Lord, will be commandeered by individuals who want God’s vision to be seen as their vision and often times the one and only vision. The question then becomes, whose kingdom are we building?
This distinction is everything!
Many of the promises in the scriptures are to the community of God’s people. The promise is for the body as a whole, and as a community will be accomplished. However, when I separate out the promise for God’s people and claim it as a promise for me, I make the possibility of seeing the fulfillment in my lifetime a promise I expect. I dig another assumption pit filled with frustration and disappointment.
Swimming in these waters leads to blame and abandoned faith. The promises of God are promises for me and for you. Yet, when I assume the result of God's promises to his people is the same as a promise I will see, I will find frustration and shame, rather than taking joy in my part of the promise leading to our exultation and God’s exaltation.
The other way….
Our faith, hope and trust are placed in the God of the promise not in the people of the promise.
Leaders, bear the responsibility for equipping God’s people for participation in the promises of God with resolve and surrender. Lean into abiding with Jesus so your contributions to His kingdom move His promises closer and closer to fulfillment. Pray for and equip laborers to sow the seeds of the gospel, make disciple making disciples, plant church planting churches, and develop leadership developing leaders until there is #NoPlaceLeft. Give yourself wholly to Jesus and His Church, those who are and those who will be. Spend yourself and be spent for those who our Lord entrusts to your care (2 Cor 12:15). Many will fail, maybe even you, but...
Whether we see the completion with our own eyes, or through the eyes of our disciple making decedents, we will not waver for our God has promised that you can participate in the work of a possible local Gospel movement and no matter what may happen, one day people from every, tribe, tongue and nation will be gathered around the Lamb shouting, “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty! The earth is full of His glory!”
Together with all God’s people until there’s #NoPlaceLeft….