Editor's note: May is National Foster Care Month. Join us in prayer each day this month for children involved in foster care, the families who care for them, and for Buckner foster care and adoption staff. This post originally appeared here.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2 (NIV)
As you read through this devotion, I want to challenge you to be open to be what I call "an agent of redemption."
What's that? Pretty simply, an agent of redemption is a person who has experienced the redeeming love of of Jesus. He or she has been forgiven and is indwelled with the Holy Spirit. An agent of redemption has first experienced his or her own spiritual transfer from a life of bondage and guilt from sin to the place of repentance, forgiveness, grace and freedom.
But that definition can be seen as a little bit passive, so let me add some action to it: An agent of redemption also has a personal calling to actively engage with people in his or her circle of influence to demonstrate a transformed life to work, pray and focus on the redemptive potential in everyone around them.
An agent of redemption is on a personal life mission to pray, work and hope for the kingdom to come near in this life. This person lives the prayer of Jesus that says "... your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
But in addition to the forgiveness you've received and the active searching for ways to carry out his agenda in the world, there's a third aspect to being an agent of redemption: You have to alter your vision. An agent of redemption sees the world from a unique lens, a Jesus-shaped worldview. An agent of redemption sees this life as temporary. This person lives life in view of eternity, the life to come. In other words, he or she will think about the world and see the world through the mind and eyes of Jesus.
The word "agent" has its origins in the Greek language, meaning "to drive, to lead." An agent is "something that produces or is capable of producing an effect; an active or efficient cause." Another definition is "one who acts for or in the place of another by authority from him." The word has been used in governments for a representative or ambassador.
Now, take all of those aspects of the definition and put them into the context of Holy Scripture and of the Christian's life and responsibility. In the case of foster care, we are ambassadors of God's love, representing how he cares about children. We are agents of redemption - God's agents of his redemption. And we act upon his authority and as his representatives. Jesus does the work of redemption, yet we are his hands and feet.
Albert L. Reyes is the President and CEO of Buckner International, based in Dallas, Texas, and the author of the soon-to-be published book, The Jesus Agenda: Becoming an Agent of Redemption.
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