What is Missional Living?
Missional Living is a phrase used to describe a noble life devoted to the Great Commission. The Great Commission is Jesus' final words for us before he left earth, and it is found in Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When we think of missional living, or living out the Great Commission, many times we think of telling others of Jesus and his love for them. The noble missional life is presented as an exciting lifestyle of changing the world. By contrast marriage is often presented as the end of something. The world says it is the end of the glory of being single and many times the church presents it as the end of being effective in ministry. However, the New Testament presents marriage as something else altogether.
What is Missional Marriage?
In Ephesians 5:25-32 Paul writes of a great mystery. Marriage is not just for the two people involved. Marriage is for the world to see the love of Christ for the church and the love of the church for Christ. Paul writes:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
As husbands selflessly love their wives, the world sees how Jesus loves the church, and as wives lovingly follow the leading of their husbands, the world sees how the church is to follow Jesus. Marriage is not the end of effectively telling others about Jesus. It is the primary way a married couple tells the world of Jesus and his love for them. Jesus’ plan was for the world to know of His love through the way you love your wife and follow your husband. This challenge is not to be taken lightly. Missional living and your marriage go hand in hand. Jesus has given you a noble and vital mission to tell the world of His love and the church’s devotion. In all aspects of life--raising children, working jobs, going on dates, everything: husbands, Jesus has challenged you to be a mighty example of His selfless love for which He gave up so much to become a man and lay down His life on the cross so that we may live. Wives, Jesus has challenged you to be a beautiful example of the church lovingly respecting and following the lead of the head, Jesus. This is what missional marriage is: a picture for the world to see Jesus.
About the Author: Ted is a father of five, our families pastor at AntiochA2, and a leader of our prayer ministry. He loves Jesus, being a husband, being a father, and loving people. Ted enjoys hanging out with his sons and enjoying God’s beautiful creation. Ted has a desire to see families wholly following Jesus with passion and being transformed by His love. He believes that as we make disciples of Jesus who truly understand their new identity in Him, the world can’t help but be dramatically changed by the local church.