Theology Thursday: Living Life on Mission

Women holding hands in prayer

Scripture reveals to us that God has a mission, or objective, and that he is intentional in seeing it accomplished on the earth. In simplest terms, God’s goal is to restore his relationship with humanity to himself, through the sending of Jesus Christ. In sending Christ, God is inviting us to become a part of his church, the sacred community of believers, and to participate in his mission. It is an invitation to worship as we walk in redemption and share the path of reconciliation with God and with others. It is a beautiful collaboration with God in his redemptive work on the earth.

What an awesome concept that he calls us to be partners with him in this great mission. The question becomes, “how do I live missionally in every part of my life?” Over the next few paragraphs, I hope to offer some perspective on this great calling to live missionally.

In This Article:

Created for Relationship

In Genesis 1-2, the narrative of creation, it is evident that God formed humanity to be in relationship with him and with each other. The impetus of this grand design was a desire to make humanity in the image of God. His words, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” (Genesis 1:26, ESV) and “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him,” (Genesis 2:18) signifies an ability to communicate with each other because there is similarity in design. In other words, there is a likeness between us to God and between each other. Similarity is the breeding ground for relationship. Connection happens where resemblance is present and mission advances when relationships flourish. In fact, when we consider that relationship was the first thing God established, it seems impossible to live missionally all alone. We need connection; we need each other.

Commanded To Love

If relationship is the design, then what is the driver? God also provides this for us in the form of a command to love. In fact, it is the Greatest Commandment. Jesus states it like this in Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Love is not just a good idea it is a godly command. And this love is not frivolous or conditional. It is a love that is full of goodwill toward self and exhibits the same to others. As Paul defines in 1 Cor. 13:4-8:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

This love engages the whole person. We love in thought, emotion and action to walk united in purpose, to live on mission in all areas of life. Remember, if the mission is reconciliation with God, love is a powerful influence toward that directive. Loving people where they are at in their life journey, introducing them to the God who is love (see 1 John 4:8), and walking with them toward fully embracing this love is missional living.

Commissioned To Serve

The invitation to join God in mission is an offer to serve both God and humanity. It encourages us to live with each other, to lead by example and to grow in maturity. Jesus issued this directive in the form of a commissioning, and he stated it like this in Matt. 28:18-20:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

This small passage of scripture is rich. In these few verses God assures us, through Jesus, that he is sending us, and we are not alone. We have his full backing and provision, and he will stick with us to the end. He is sharing how to stay on mission by encouraging us to live together, to learn together, and to grow together with him and with each other. In this journey of living and loving, the Kingdom of God is advancing through one redeemed life at a time.

Called To Live

In Hebrews 12 we are reminded that we are living for something greater than ourselves and longer than our lives on the earth — we are living for God. The passage contains encouragement when times are tough, relationships are difficult and mission seems lost. In them, God reminds us again that we are not alone. He encourages us to live beyond the circumstances and remember why we are running, who we are running with and what we are running toward. These words in Hebrews 12:1-2 are inspiring:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Living a missional life is not something we only do. It is a mindset that knows because we are loved by God, we can live with others in loving service as we encourage each other to become more like Jesus.

Read more Theology Thursday and explore theology and ministry programs offered by GCU’s College of Theology today.


Approved by an instructor for the College of Theology on Feb. 6, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.