It is easy to get stuck in a rut. I predict that is what will happen to my golf game come spring--I'll begin and gain some initial improvement, only to get stuck in a rut by mid-summer. I don't like it, but it happens. This also happens with living on mission: it seems that getting stuck in a rut becomes more common than I would like.
I'm not sure if the apostle Paul had seasons where he got stuck in a rut. His letters don't give that impression, yet he was human. The way he writes in 2 Corinthians 5 reminds us that getting stuck in a rut is not the norm, rather living on mission is. There are five reasons he gives to live on mission that hopefully will break us free from the rut of missionless living.
1. We live on mission because people are eternal (5:1-5). It helps to shape the way we see each day and each individual person when we step back and take an eternal perspective on things.
2. We live on mission because we are persuasive by design (5:11). Salesmen know that their livelihood depends on their persuasiveness. I believe that only God can open a person's heart by the Holy Spirit, yet God has also created us to be persuasive by the way we live and communicate the gospel.
3. We live on mission because of the love of Christ (5:14). I interpret this to be Christ's love for us. His love is always primary. The fact that the Son of God came to this earth, lived perfectly and died on a cross under a brutal execution for sin is the message that we carry and the world needs to hear.
4. We live on mission because of new creation reality (5:17). This verse was the first one that really gripped me when I was converted to Christ as a teenager--I am a new creation! This is the message of hope that many long for and is what we bring them in Christ!
5. We live on mission because we are ambassadors of reconciliation and substitution (5:20-21). The message we bring is not just new creation but even greater: people can be reconciled to God because Jesus went to the cross to die the death they deserve. This is the most important truth in the universe. It is more important than anything congress will pass today. It is more important than anything that makes the headlines on your favorite news channel or website. This is truly good news, the gospel. And the world needs to hear. We are the ambassadors.
The common thread in all of this is the gospel. This can all be boiled down to the power of the gospel. The reality of the gospel is enough reason to live on mission daily.