Are you thinking of going on a missions trip, but aren’t sure if you have the right qualifications? How do you know what the standard is and whether you’ll measure up to it or not? If you are afraid that you won’t measure up to a missions trip application then the good news of Jesus Christ can help you find some peace.
You must be this tall to ride
On campus we often face situations where we don’t measure up to certain standards. “I can’t do evangelism because I have no experience.” “I can’t apply for that job or for that Master’s program because I don’t meet their requirements.” “I can’t ask that person out because they’reshe’s too attractive, too smart, or too holy.” The truth is that we often don’t actually know the requirements we need to have or standards we need to reach in order to do these things. So why do we say that we’re not good enough? Often, when we say that we don’t measure up, it’s because we’re afraid of being rejected. Right now we’re on the other side where we don’t actually know whether we measure up, but we’re afraid to get measured and be found wanting. “What if I try evangelism and scare someone away from God?” “What if I don’t get that job?” “What if she laughs in my face?” “What if I apply to go on a mission trip and I’m not accepted?” It’s scary to put ourselves in a position for others to judge us.
In most romantic comedies you have a man weighing the risk/reward of taking a chance on a girl. She’s so pretty and smart, or quirky and nice, or cool and mysterious. At some point, the guy realizes how wonderful she is and needs to summon up a lot of courage to ask her out or ask her to marry him. He’s analyzing the risk and the reward of the situation. If she says yes it would be amazing, but if she says no he’ll be devastated. What should he do?
Our culture gives us two pieces of advice when facing the fear of rejection. First, you should risk rejection when the potential reward outweighs the potential cost. Second, you should risk rejection when the standards aren’t as high as they seem, and therefore more likely attainable. In contrast, the Bible says that you can risk rejection because both the reward and loss are insignificant compared to the reward in Christ. Furthermore, you can risk rejection because in Christ you have met the ultimate standard.
Take the risk
When we are in Christ we are free to risk the losses and feelings of rejection because we know that we have already met God’s standard and will gain the rewards that come with it. The Apostle Paul says “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phi. 3:8). “Everything” refers to all of Paul’s accomplishments: his status among the people of Israel, his knowledge of the Word of God, and his passion to follow God. He has added everything up. Compared to the “surpassing worth” of knowing Jesus, the other things are actually counted as a loss. Anything that should have helped him measure up to God’s standard is actually a loss because it did not help him gain that standard. It was, instead, “the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil 3:9). Paul obtained the standard and received the reward in Christ alone. Not through his virtues, but by the grace of God alone.
So when you’re deciding whether to apply for a missions trip, don’t let the fear of not measuring up to certain standards discourage you from applying. Take the risk! Not because the reward outweighs the risk or because the standards aren’t as high as they appear. Take the risk because it’s really not a risk at all. You have measured up to God’s standard in Christ and gained the ultimate reward. If you’re not accepted to go on the mission trip, remember that this does not take away from your standing before God in Christ. And if you get accepted remember that this does not add one bit to your standing before God as well. You are wholly and completely accepted by God in spite of both your sins and your virtues.