Most of the time it is not very helpful to make assumptions but we are going to make a couple here with Youth In Mission’s first priority. We choose to assume that Christ is already working in your life. And that he is also already working in the lives of everyone else. God goes before us in creation, in our own humanity, in relationship, with others, and in missional activity.
In John 5:17 Jesus explains to his critics that his Father is always at work and that Jesus himself is working.
Len Sweet says it like this: “God created the world, and the Creator is not finished creating. But we who have been created in the Creator’s image are invited to participate in God’s ongoing activity.” (Nudge, p.92)
If we believe that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) then we can assume that God is already at work in us. Then let’s also assume that each of us is seeking to make Christ the center of our lives. When Christ is our center all the moving targets of God’s will that seem to allude us become localized. If Christ is our center, being in relationship with God through Christ is our purpose, goal, and target. All the rest of life is details. A LOT of details:)
Romans 12:1-2 encourages us as followers of Christ to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can discern God’s will. Ultimately God’s will is that everyone BE in relationship with him through Christ! We may call this placing of trust in Christ salvation or conversion but whatever we call it what is happening is that a fellow image bearer of God is living into the purpose they are created for (telos).
Frost and Hirsch say it like this:
“Conversion is a process that does not begin and end with the profession of faith in Christ but begins with the Holy Spirit’s prevenient grace on the person’s life and continues through repentance for a lifetime—the Kingdom comes.” The Shaping of Things to Come, (Kindle Locations 1171-1173).
In another one of Jesus’ bold assumptions, he said to everyone listening that the kingdom of God was in them or in their midst (Luke 17:21). So our role in the mission is to join God in what he is already DOing in us by cooperating with his grace that goes before us. Equally important we are to attend to what God is doing in others and assume that Christ is at work in their lives. Christ does this again and again in scripture as he encounters people from all walks of life.
Our chief aim then is to assume Christ is already GOing about accomplishing his mission in us as we cooperate with his Spirit. We have the privilege of seeking to notice how Christ is at work in our family, friends, neighbors, communities, and cultures…and then join in!