Tag Archives: truth

Reflecting on the Gospel

You and I communicate the gospel we believe by the way we live our life.   Whether it’s in our conversations, our associations, what we hate or what we admire.  Reflecting on your conversations, your passions and your life will give you great insight into the gospel you believe and the gospel you share with others.  

A woman shares about a wedding she attended.  The wedding was beautiful, gospel centered yet the strongest point made was both the bride and groom came to the altar virgins.  Coming to the altar virgins is a glorious gift to your spouse and a way to honor God but it is not a noble badge to wear.  I’m not undermining the importance of honoring God with your bodies.  God’s ways are good and to embrace them is right.  However; when we boast in virginity we unintentionally disqualify others who are not from thinking they are worthy or able to have a meaningful, gospel-centered, God honoring wedding.  Statements focused on obedience to the law convey a gospel that is all about self-righteousness and right living.  Yes, the Holy Spirit in believers does a glorious work in our messy, stain-filled, corrupted heart despite us.  Holiness is God’s glorious work, not ours.  Many may get defensive saying we make choices and we need to be obedient.  Yes, we do, but don’t you see…even our obedience is God’s work in us; we’d never be obedient on our ownAny good in us is only God and God, not the “Good Christian”, should be glorified.  When we communicate right living is what matters most, we communicate a moral gospel.  A moral gospel disqualifies sinful people from ever thinking Jesus could love them.  This is not the true gospel, because Jesus came to save sinners.  While we were still sinners He saved us.   There is  no doubt the woman at the well could have one amazing God glorifying wedding and she would not be coming as a virgin.  The true Gospel redeems lives despite past choices.

A  woman is passionate about a cause or particular people group.  Her heart is incredibly passionate about justice for select people.  In her passion,  a hatred arises of anyone who may be contributors to the wounds or injustice of her select cause or group.  The gospel being communicated is only good for those who are oppressed, not the oppressor.  This is not the true gospel.  Jesus saves wicked people, not just under privileged people. Jesus gospel is for both the oppressor and the oppressed.  Paul is a clear example of this.  We read and recite his letters yet hate those who are like him.  If this is the gospel you communicate, I challenge you to love those who are not in need of you.  Love those who don’t want anything you have to offer.  Love those who won’t follow you, but may follow Jesus.  Love those who won’t jump on your bandwagon.  Love those who you can’t make a project or a part of your work. Love the oppressor and the oppressed without partiality or favoritism.  Loving the oppressor may not feel as noble, but your nobility is not the point, loving others is.

Jesus has given us clear commands and demonstrated in His life, death, resurrection, and ascension that His Gospel is for everyone.  It isn’t for a select people group or a reward for behavior.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t exclude and elevate people based on their passions and lifestyles.  It’s not purpose driven, its heart driven.  God so loved the world He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.  World includes everyone.  Whoever believes is not a people group, formula or moral code.  It’s those who have put their faith not on what they do, but on what Jesus did.

Take notice of the gospel you communicate and check it with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Where are you communicating an exclusive gospel?

The Gospel is faithful to work in us as we seek to share it with others.  If we aren’t seeing our need for the Gospel in sharing the Gospel, we can be sure we are communicating a wrong gospel.  Genuine desire to know Jesus and make Him known will purge us of our biases, our crooked thinking and our corrupted hearts.  That is what the Gospel does…it saves sinners and makes them right with God.

Silent Sideliner

Shortly after  the New Year and before the inauguration I pulled away from social media. 

Like many others, I found myself becoming someone I didn’t like as I saw smear and hate fill my newsfeed.  Anger and judgment flooded my soul as I saw people who say they love Jesus revealing hate as though the Gospel is only for select people groups. 

As the scripture tells us, if your arm causes you to sin, cut it off.  Facebook got cut off as well as other modes of social media.  What I learned in my time away revealed way more about me than what I pulled away from. 

Quickly, I became a silent sideliner.  In my effort to not offend or get involved in any controversial conversations I became silent. Withdrawing can have a good sweet purpose transforming the heart and transcending soul.  Jesus withdrew to the Father, but Jesus didn’t stay withdrawn.  Unlike Jesus, my withdrawing revealed some deep dark sin that needed to be called out, confessed and cleansed.

While I withdrew and became silent, I still checked Facebook periodically to check in on friends and family.  Silence was a safe space to scroll newsfeeds but not respond.  Let’s be honest that’s either a busy body or disengagement.   Out of fear of arguing, being misunderstood, or saying the wrong thing; my disengagement on Facebook began mirroring itself in my relationships.   Not only was I silenced from controversy, I was also silenced from encouraging.

It wasn’t until someone I care about was insulted and I didn’t respond that God’s conviction stirred deep to face the sin before me.  Do I believe the Truth enough to speak up?  Are my convictions deep enough to handle potential disapproval of others?  Doesn’t love stand up for those who are unable to speak for themselves?   I allowed my fear of conflict to push me onto the sidelines, spiraling into silent spectator. 

I hate conflict and I try to avoid it at all cost.  Whether through people pleasing or withdrawing, overall I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding it.  But here’s a truth that needs to permeate deep in my soulyou can’t avoid conflict in a world stained by sin.  You can’t stay silent while people perish.

Conviction leads to clarity and then choice.  I can either learn to engage in conflict with love, truth and grace or become a silent sideliner who, just like the Priest and Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, intentionally avoid the messy, hurting, wounded and mistreated.  While it is not God’s will for me to engage in useless arguments,  by God’s grace may I never again find myself a disengaged silent sideliner withholding truth God has graciously given to bring life. 

Maybe you can relate…

♥        How are you becoming a silent sideliner in the midst of a spiritual war that has already been won?

♥        Where do you need to ask God to strengthen you to engage in necessary conflict for the good of others?

♥         What if Jesus remained a silent sideliner?