Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Working with integrity

Reading Steve Moody's blog* today made me think of what it is to serve in missions. As iron sharpens iron, we are meant to be willing to challenge one another and break down the barriers that cause us to pretend "all is Ok". Steve referred to it as wearing make up which covers the blemishes but never actually heals or changes anything underneath. It's been like that since the fall: we have to somehow cover ourselves out of shame.

Right now, I am taking a greater role in mentoring staff at the Youth With A Mission campus here in South Africa. At the same time, I'm also being mentored by one of our elders. Verbally processing our disappointments, fears, shame and other areas of darkness in our lives with trusted believers gives us the ability to break it down and recognise that we cannot do this without Christ who strengthens us. It pushes us to lay everything down at the Cross and submit to Him. The longer I'm in missions, the more I realise that it's not about me, but about He who sent me, trained me, equipped me, and went before me. But as I shared with my mentee, things can get messy and difficult when we ask each other the difficult questions. It is a risk - a potential damaging of reputation and friendship. Yet a vital step in order to be more like Him.

Therefore, we've got to remember that the first and foremost person to be honest with is Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. Steve sums it up nicely even he concludes with the difference between preserving reputation (=worldly) and preserving integrity (=godly). He also quotes Psalm 139:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

As Steve says: It assumes an attitude that does not work to preserve reputation but to preserve integrity.  It assumes that we will make mistakes, that we will go astray.  Such an attitude is the basis upon which forgiveness operates and the foundation of our reconciliation with God.

*Steve is the pastor of the wonderful Stopsley Baptist Church in Luton. He is often thought-provoking in his sermons. He is partly the reason why I am serving in missions today!

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