God desires to use us—people who have a restored relationship with Him—to bring His perspective into the conversations of the day. We are regular run-of-the-mill, ordinary Christians, “God’s people,” sent out to speak as ambassadors of His Kingdom perspective.
He calls us to walk in the Spirit and keep in step with Him. That means that the life of the Christian is not passive. We are the active agents of a God who is on the move. How do we do this? I think of it as three steps: incarnational, relational, and transformational.
Incarnational: being an ambassador is your identity
The word incarnate means in the flesh. Jesus, the eternal second member of the Trinity, became incarnate (took on flesh), dwelling among us, fully God and fully man, with the purpose of making God known and atoning for Sin through His substitutionary death on the Cross. We learn a great deal about God’s character from Jesus.
We learn to glorify God by observing and listening to Jesus. When Christ comes then to dwell in us by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we become the physical bodies through whom Christ is making His appeal to others: be reconciled to God. The idea we now have a role in Christ’s incarnational ministry is mind-blowing. We are His hands and feet and mouths in the world today. When people encounter us, God’s plan is they would be encountering Christ.
That means every moment is an opportunity to demonstrate the beauty and truth of the Gospel to others.
Don’t panic. I know that can sound really intimidating, but remember, it’s not “me” that is doing this—it’s the power of Christ at work within me. I am in Christ, a new creation, a temple of the Holy Spirit, abiding in God, bearing good fruit. So, it’s me, but not me alone. It’s me, filled with the Holy Spirit, in league with millions of other Christians likewise filled, empowered, and sent.
I’m responsible to faithfully keep the divine appointments God sets for me on any given day. You’re responsible to faithfully keep the ones He’s set for you.
Relational: ambassadors live among others as representatives of another Kingdom
Relational witness acknowledges Jesus didn’t just take on flesh and then die an atoning death, He lived long enough among us to provide a faithful pattern of relating to God and one another.
Whether you look inside your own family or into the nation at large, you see the world’s need for redemptive relationships. Yes, each person needs a redeemed relationship with the Father and that comes through a relationship with Christ alone. But people also need examples of redeemed marriages, redeemed parent-child relationships, redeemed friendships, redeemed political relationships, and redeemed relationships between nations. That too is our job as Christ’s ambassadors in the world today.
This might be a shocking news flash but you were not actually redeemed by Christ for your benefit only. Yes, Christ died for you, but the Gospel is a whole lot bigger than that. The redemptive plan of God does not, in fact, revolve around you.
It revolves around God. God is internally and externally relational. God is relational
as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in Creative Redemptive history, God is relational with everything and everyone He has made.
Transformational: the presence of an ambassador changes the conversation
Finally, there is the transformational witness of the Christian. Or better said, the transformational power of Christ to which we bear witness. Do you believe Jesus changes everything? If not, what or who is excluded?
Certainly there are individuals, institutions, and situations in which and over which a spirit other than Christ is now reigning. But that does not mean God isn’t interested in changing that reality. And the ambassadors He sends to be agents of His transforming presence are you and me.
The people around us are asking three basic sets of questions. They are asking questions about identity, belonging, and purpose. As Christians we know all of those questions are answered in Jesus Christ. So, if we have the answers to the questions the people around us are asking, why are we not engaged in the cultural conversations of the day? If we are the ambassadors of the King and the Kingdom that offers people a new restored identity, temporal and eternal belonging, and a mission in this life, then isn’t it time to unmute and get God back into the conversation?
A: Well, it starts with listening.
Listen to God and listen to the conversation going on around you in the world that He so loves. What are people talking about in the coffee shop, in the bleachers, at the bar, in the waiting room, at the airport? If your ears are plugged with headphones and your routine is designed to avoid contact with other people, you are most certainly missing the divine appointments God has set for you. Consider this, if you start putting yourself in proximity with sinners, over time you might actually meet someone God is interested in reaching with the redemptive good news of the Gospel.
This is an excerpt from Carmen’s book Speak the Truth: How to Bring God Back into Every Conversation. Find more information and how to order a copy here.