Tiny Christianity

17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech … 25 Adam made love to his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.” 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.  (Genesis 4:17-26)
26  God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule … 27 So God created mankind in his own image,  in the image of God he created them;  male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule!”  (Genesis 1:26-28)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  
(Matthew 28:18-20)
A few weeks ago, when we looked at Genesis 1 together, the Lord challenged us that he wants us to get a bigger view of what it means to be human. God rules alone in heaven but he has firmly resolved to rule Planet Earth in partnership with the people that he has created. Wow! If we say yes to partnership with him, he will answer our prayers and bless our actions such that Planet Earth becomes a foretaste of the paradise that is to come. If we ignore his call to partnership, then we will suffer real loss. The world will become a foretaste of hell instead.

In Genesis 1, the Lord commissioned Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule!” Despite his other faults, we discover that Cain took this commission seriously. He had so many children that they were able to form a city together! When Adam and Eve had a son named Seth to replace his murdered brother, Seth took this commission seriously as well. It takes the whole of Genesis 5 just to list his family tree!

When Jesus rose from the dead as the true and better Adam, he told his followers that he was giving them the same commission that God gave to Adam’s children. They were to go into all the earth and fill it with disciples. They were to bring whole nations into submission to Jesus as Lord. He gave them his authority and a great commission that is meant to echo the one God gave to Adam: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule!”

When we take a moment to think about this, it is hard not to conclude that our Christianity is too small. Instead of thinking about our call to partner with God and to fill the world with Jesus-followers, we tend to think about our own lives and how we might persuade God to bless us in the pursuit of our own agenda, rather than join him in his. This is tragic, and we are going to try to do something about it this week. Let’s say no to such tiny Christianity!
1)   Think about your conversion. When you gave your life to Jesus, were you responding to a call to let Jesus help you with your own agenda or to a call to die to your own agenda and begin a new life with Jesus as Lord?

2)   Think about your discipleship. In your early days as a Christian, were you taught to ask God to bless you in what you were doing or were you taught to find out what God was doing and to partner with him?

3)   Tiny Christianity never multiplies. It is too self-absorbed to reach out to others with the Gospel and to make more disciples of Jesus. Looking at your own life, how much are you engaged in God’s call to fill the earth with Jesus followers? How can you devote yourself to this, instead of to your own priorities instead?
Father God, I recognise that the Christianity that I have been taught is far too small. It was never meant to be merely about seeking your blessing on my life. It was meant to be about learning to partner with you to fill the world with Jesus-followers. Help me this week to shed my tiny Christianity and to discover your great commission instead. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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