The Map of Sonship • Challenge 4
The Map of Sonship
It started in the garden when the Father said Let Us Make them in Our image. • We receive our treasure at the beginning of the journey. • Jesus gives us the provisions for the journey. • We get to travel light. • And the map always leads to Jesus. He is the beginning and the end.
In some of His final words to his Kingdom apprentices, Jesus said, “Travel light. You are the equipment.” What if a man and a knife could save the world?
So much emasculation has taken place in the corporate world culture along with the influence to be the specialized leader in our little worlds that you can have many degree’s but still can’t back up a trailer or fix your car. We’ve forgotten the value of figuring out how something works by tearing it apart and putting it back together. I am amazed at how many folks out there are really afraid to explore their world. Our culture has become so driven to be the greatest that we have no understanding of what a simplistic walk of faith looks like. We live in fear of communication, our relationships, and what others think about us rather than developing an understanding of how we have been hardwired by our Heavenly Father and then seeing ourselves through the lens of Jesus and living in the way that shows we have been given everything that pertains to life and Godliness in Jesus.
Jesus traveled with nothing but his cloak and told his disciples…
“Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” Luke 9:3.
This seems to add tension and confusion to our discipleship idiom when we tell our kids, “Find what you’re good at, and stick to it.” What if the choice they make in a specific field does not fulfill them or the industry goes away? What if the kid figures out 10 years after graduation that they hate what they do or have interest in another field?
Without exploration and the development of other skills or experiences and when our compass does not reflect what can be clearly read on the map that we have been provided, we will trap ourselves in fear and become of no useful impact on a lost and dying world.
To become a man or woman of God is to grasp firmly the actions, intent, and interventions of God in order to mature and strengthen the entire depth and breadth of the soul in a man or women. No more playing it safe! We must instead choose to live on the frontier of our engagement with the living God and who He alone has created us to be. To do this a Christian chooses to come out of hiding and move toward—rather than away from—the things he or she fears, becoming useful in every aspect of life and specializing in the work that He has called us to enjoy. The Word of God is the Map that leads us to be able to experience and become the kind of men and women who can handle themselves in every situation, whether fixing a broken toilet or partnering with God to mend a broken heart. In all things, those who except this simplistic way of life are able to bring life rather than harm, becoming confident in exploration rather than incompetent, confident rather than intimidated. It is on the shared foundation of Christ that everyone can develop into the unique person they are intended to be and walk in a life of Sonship. You never know… You might be a carpenter that God is calling to do something different!
The key to to light travel is that Jesus is all you need!
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Matthew 11:28-30. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We get the picture that Jesus modeled and the travel light modicum. It speaks to our walk both spiritually and externally. Let’s look at some more practical application from our map.
Luke 10:1-11 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Luke’s preaching-mission account is a travel-light account. We see there were 72 that were sent and they went ahead of Jesus two by two to the places where Jesus would go. There are many descriptions of them: they go ahead of the Lord; the harvest is plentiful; the sent ones are lambs among wolves; the greeting of peace will either be reciprocated or denied the who are journeying; they travel with the power of God; their names are written in heaven. Then there are the instructions: they are to travel with no sandals, bag or purse; greet no one on the road; enter homes with a greeting of peace and announce the nearness of the kingdom of God no matter what. They must remove the dust of non-welcoming towns from their sandals but not forget to announce the kingdom anyway, and not to rejoice in power over demons.
That’s a lot to remember. But even with all the descriptions and instructions, there is a central standout insistence on traveling light: “Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.” This is traveling light, even ultralight. This is an anti-accoutrements account. There will be no gear shopping. The early church knew what this meant and we are being given a glimpse of how little we need for the journey He has us on. We see what will work in our mission field: a community sharing a greeting of peace that is returned, gathering around a meal, healing, listening to the gospel announcement and departing to continue the work. It wasn’t confined to a box to meet in, and is the most simplistic model for missional living you will find. The list of items is not too different from the early ecclesia seen in the New Testement Church. Where they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The gatherings were a place of greetings and peace sharing and healing on many levels, with repeated announcement of the gospel and with meal-making. All of these things that bring relevance to the kingdom-of-God that Christ was about to introduce in His unconventional way.
John the Baptist would identity Him as a voice crying from the wilderness in the midst of all the things that the world already identified with, giving the work of the Cross the most relevance in every culture to come. They were sent out with words of peace and a declaration of the kingdom and told this will be sufficient. They were sent out with instructions to greet and eat and heal and leave and told that this is sufficient for the work of the harvest of the Lord. Those who heard the sent ones would hear Jesus, while those who rebuked the sent ones would rebuke Jesus and the One who sent him.
According to the text, traveling light means at least one other thing.
Luke 10:16-20 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
It is recorded that “the seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!’” Yet Jesus’ response counters this enthusiasm: “Do not rejoice at this.” This caution seems to add a twist to the details of the sending and the instructions for the journeying ones. Having been given such missional details defining their work, weren’t they entitled to enthusiasm when harvests happen? But here their enthusiasm over outcomes is tamped down. Jesus cautions us against excitement over tangibles, over success rates, authority over demons, and over personal power. He pushes back against self congratulatory eagerness, however innocent, and makes it clear that the power bestowed on us is not our power: “See, I have given you authority . . . Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this.” We are not to rejoice in our accomplishments on behalf of the Lord or because our names are written in heaven.
The argument is that although power is put in our hands, that power is put in our hands through Jesus and not us. We are to travel light. We travel with peace, with healing, with meal sharing, with kingdom declaration, with community—and it is enough. We are members of the perpetual journeying household and traveling with the Map of Sonship.
It goes without saying that not everyone will navigate in this fashion. Many in our culture will prioritize the building of a temporal kingdom that can be enjoyed presently. In the same way that Jesus was despised and rejected of men and he didn’t fear it; You can expect that the possibility of distancing from friends and family is possible. You will often feel misunderstood, and even cast aside from this culture however, the contrast of walking in His Sonship is glorious! If you stay the course you will have everything you need to make it into eternity with ease, joy, and peace!
I have seen this Travel light theory play out so often now that my mantra for spending life in the backcountry has become “less is more!”
As I have developed my own overlanding adventures for men and at the same time observed the industry trends while they depict what everything should look like; I have watched folks spend thousands of dollars on rooftop tents, and survival gear. They can drop a 100k on everything they are told they will need just to spend 3 days in the woods and spend thousands more every year just to maintain the stuff they used 3 times last season. Meanwhile, the guys that camped out only what little they had like their car with just a few essentials, had more fun and still have money in the bank.
I’m just saying! The only thing one needs to go on life’s journey is Jesus and we will come full circle again in the finale chapter of The Map of Sonship.
About the Author
God Justifies the Ungodly!
Romans 3:20-4:5 God justifies the ungodly who trust in him. God acquits the guilty!
While I have frequently stumbled in life, God has been gracious! The ‘Map of Sonship is crucial to the success of folks who desire to walk closely with the Lord and are wanting to enjoy the freedom to be who God created them to be. This is for those who struggle with the navigation of Christianity, defeat, depression, isolation, their own sins, hearing from the Lord, and moving past the mistakes of their past. It is a small part of my personal walk with the Lord in as Jesus has invited me to walk with Him in full on Sonship!
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John is Pastor at The Redeemed Adventure Project and Author of various Adventure Journals, Fireside Challenges, and Blogs excerpts from books he written over the last 12 years.