How to Go Undercover for God
- Whitney Hopler
Editor’s note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Ed Stetzer’s book, Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation (B&H Publishing Group, 2012).
People who don’t yet know Jesus sometimes close themselves off from hearing the Gospel message because of biases they may hold against Christians as arrogant or even rude people. But it’s possible to get the attention of seekers – and show them the real difference that faith in Jesus can make in their lives – by working quietly and subversively to put your faith in action. When you go undercover and show seekers what they don’t expect to see, you can expand God’s kingdom on Earth in significant ways. Here’s how:
Follow Jesus’ own example. While He was on Earth, Jesus worked subversively to rebel against evil and lead people to the truth. Rather than trying to force people to listen to Him, Jesus simply announced that God’s kingdom had come because He had come, and He showed people what that kingdom looked like. Jesus calls you to simply be faithful in the small things he asks you to do, and when you are faithful, those things will take on enormous significance by leading to powerful, lasting change for the better in people’s lives.
Help bring heaven to Earth. Each believer’s life can serve as a center for God to use to reorder life on Earth to closer to what it’s like in heaven. Invite God to use your life in that way, and then expect great kingdom work to occur through your life moving forward.
Take action. God is calling you to do much more than just attend church and spend time alone reading the Bible and praying; He wants to send you out into the world to join Him in his mission work building His kingdom on Earth. Keep in mind that if you have a unique role to play to help change the world for the better, and if you don’t accept your mission, the world will suffer as a result. So say “yes” to God’s invitation to follow where He leads you.
Discover joy. When you see how your efforts to serve others as God leads you change people’s lives for the better, you’ll experience true joy, and that will motivate you to keep following where God leads you to help people.
Derive confidence from God’s help. Even though you’re living in the “already, but not yet” time when God has already announced his kingdom but hasn’t yet eradicated evil in this fallen world, you can be confident that God will bless your efforts to live out His kingdom through your lifestyle and empower you to do whatever He calls you to do – from sharing the Gospel message with a broken world to alleviating the needs around you. Simply start where you are, use what talents and resources you have, do what you can, and don’t be afraid, trusting God to work through you when you serve.
Be uncommonly good. Develop a strong character so seekers will notice how Jesus is empowering you to become a good person in the middle of a world where people often behave badly. Ask God to help you live with integrity (being completely honest and dependable), kindness, authenticity, purity, generosity, and an excellent work ethic.
Respond to difficulties in inspirational ways. When you encounter difficult circumstances in this fallen world, show seeker who are watching you what it looks like to respond with faith rather than fear. When people mistreat you, respond gracefully and forgive them, with God’s help. Diffuse the stress and anger in challenging situations by working for peace.