The philosopher Kierkegaard said that “purity of heart is to will one thing.” But rarely do we find our hearts motivated by a single passion or desire. We have many mixed motivations. The same can be said when it comes to thinking about missions.

When it comes to thinking about missions we find ourselves easily afraid and unmotivated to go or motivated to do something else. The process of wrestling with our hearts to have the right motivations to go and to work through our fears can be a tough one.

Below are two ways that we can wrestle with our hearts when considering on going on missions.

  1. Suspect your motives – Be aware of the heart’s deceitfulness.

If a person said that instead of going on missions he wants to get rich and donate all his money to the cause, would you not be at least a little suspicious? Yet so often this is the case with our hearts. We try to find other ways to contribute or excuses instead of responding honestly to the call of the Great Commission. Starting honestly with “I don’t want to go, because I am afraid” is much more productive than thinking of ways to subvert around obeying the Great Commission.

It’s important to remember what the prophet Jeremiah said:

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:8)

  1. Get burdened – Pray to have righteous desires and affections. 

We sometimes use phrases like “I don’t feel burdened” or “I’m still waiting for God’s calling” to really mean that we don’t want to go on the mission. Though we are all inspired in different ways, we should be taken back at least a little bit if we don’t feel some passion for the cause of global missions. The spiritual reality is that we live in a world where our God is repeatedly blasphemed against in the sinful life that people live. There remains hope for those who live in rebellion towards God. He offers peace to his enemies through his Son, Jesus Christ. Should not our hearts be stirred by this reality?

Of course, this is often the case with our hearts — our hearts are drawn to things that they shouldn’t be drawn to, and our hearts don’t feel things that they should. If you’re not feeling burdened, get burdened by praying! Not only can God move the tides of the ocean, He can also ignite the affections of our hearts. Ask God to put on your heart righteous desires to live out the Great Commission in a more radical way — whether it’d be at home or in a new place.  We need only to let him through wrestling with God in prayer.

The heart is a fickle and difficult thing, but God is greater than our hearts (1st John 3:20). Let’s not be afraid to face our hearts honestly and surrender them to God in obeying his Great Commission.