I’m beginning to see a real pattern here. An ebb and flow of learning and drinking in, and then sharing and pouring out. I guess as of late though, the distance between the drinking and the pouring has been quite a hump. And the wrestling with the flesh never stops.
Some days, I can’t get enough of the Word and other days, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do anything but sit and stare. I think sometimes those “staring” days are more like processing days. Do you ever have those? When you just can’t seem to take in anything else and what’s already there just flips and tosses around in your mind? That is seeming to happen rather often here in my little world.
I think honestly, the more I see of God – His beauty and majesty, His glorious mercy and grace, His unending love…and the more I see of me – my unworthiness, my lack of depth, my self-centered sinful nature….the more it just won’t compute. It truly is just too much to comprehend.
The love of God is unfathomable.
And in an interesting turn of events, it would seem that the gospel is the one thing that God has continually kept before me as of late. And I think I’m beginning to understand that my lack of depth, my inconsistencies, my me-centered self is greatly influenced by my not having had a true focus on the reality of the gospel.
And I’m sure you’re asking “But how can that be?” Or at least that’s what I’d be asking if somebody who claims to follow Christ just said that they don’t focus on the gospel as much as they should. Or at least that’s what I would ask now….roll back the calendar a few months and maybe the question wouldn’t have crossed my mind any more than the gospel itself did.
It’s not that I never think about the cross. I do. A lot. But had I truly allowed the full weight of the cross to settle into me…deep into my Spirit? Had I really allowed God to strip away my pride and really looked at the cross? Really seen Jesus? My hip pocket response is, of course I have.
I was watching an episode of Wretched TV with Todd Friel the other day and he was reading off a list of questions to ask yourself to determine if you were in fact really a Christian. Side note: I love Todd Friel. He’s a bit sarcastic at times and will call you out in a New York minute, but he’s real and he’s serious about spreading the gospel and honoring the Lord.
Todd’s list was full of good self-examination questions that we should probably all be asking ourselves from time to time, but there was one that especially caught my attention.
Basically it was…Do you love the Gospel best? Out of all the things in the Bible, all the stories, all the teachings, out of all of it, do you love the gospel best? Is it your favorite part? I so dearly wanted my answer to be yes, but if I was honest…painfully honest…it wasn’t yes.
I love the Word of God. I love word studies and cross references. I love digging in for deeper meanings than just what’s on the surface. I love numbers and seeing how God uses them all throughout the Bible to convey certain things. And if you ask me about Genesis, I could rattle off all sorts of things…for some reason, I’ve studied through that particular book numerous times.
But somehow or another, it seems that the gospel – that Jesus took the wrath of God on Himself so that by faith alone, we would be made righteous by the blood of Christ and the grace of God – didn’t really roll off the tongue as easily as other things.
The gospel was something that happened at Easter.
The gospel was something we receive once and then moved onto the next God thing.
The gospel was something that was for those who didn’t know Jesus.
It’s not that I never thought about the cross, but rather that my mind seemed to be more occupied with other things. And it’s not that those things aren’t important – they are. Learning about the Holy Spirit, seeking to understand what it means to be filled with the Spirit, seeking to understand more deeply what it means to live holy lives and things of that nature are “musts” of our Christian walk. But somehow they were occupying more space than the gospel itself.
But keeping the gospel before me daily…well, that changes things.
See, I am a sinner.
And only because of the endless grace of God who chose to send His Son to stand in my place and bear the full weight of the punishment of my sin, can I by faith receive the atonement poured out by blood of Christ.
Only because of the grace of God.
And that, friends, is enough to keep us all humble. When we come to fully recognize and continually remember that it is nothing in us, but only because of what Jesus did on the cross that we are restored to the Father.
And that should be our favorite part. That should be the part we know the best.
And so, God is reminding me, teaching me to remember the gospel. That the gospel should set the tone for everything I do, everything I am. That the gospel is the root of it all from which everything else grows.
The gospel is not just for the unsaved. The gospel is for us all.