Feelings of guilt and of pity can often times be motivators for disciple-making, but these feelings can hardly sustain a passion for disciple-making. What should be the motivation for disciples to join a One Year Challenge or continue making disciples where they are at?
The answer is simple: Joy.
Jesus himself endured the shame of the cross by setting his sights on the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12:3). Why does joy have this affect? Perhaps it is because wrapped up with joy are all the other feelings and convictions that help a person to persevere, like hope and determination. Joy lifts up the spirit and girds one’s determination.
For a Christian, the sustaining motivation for missions is joy, but more specifically the joy of being able to create new worshippers.
One way to be motivated by joy is to remember the joy that we first had when we were baptized. The scriptures throughout the Bible speak of God as the sole satisfaction of our souls. In Psalms 42, David writes: “As a deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you.” Augustine famously wrote: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
When people become Christians, their hearts are restored to the one thing that will satisfy them: a relationship with God. Previously they had tried to fulfil themselves with sinful living: sexual immorality, selfish ambition and idolatry of every kind. Now they have true peace and joy because their hearts have been moved back to where they truly belong.
Did you not feel this joy when you were baptized?
Let’s go on missions, not because we are motivated by guilt or shame, but because we desire to see more and more people have the same joy that we received when we were saved.