This past Sunday, PR was giving a message on the mission portion of the name of our church, “Gospel Life Mission Church.” And he mentioned something that I had forgotten about our church name: “Gospel Life refers to how we see the Gospel in our daily lives.”
This past Sunday, I myself also gave a message at my youth group, on Romans 12:1-2. My main point was that in order to follow the Gospel imperatives, what we do to follow the Gospel and give our bodies as a living sacrifice, must come from a constant renewal of our minds in the Gospel indicatives, the truths of who we are in Christ.
As I’ve been getting older, I haven’t become wiser, or more “holy,” or even a better person. But (as I’ve mentioned in my previous post), I have been getting better at one thing – and that’s seeing the Gospel in my everyday life. I’ve been seeing more of my ugliness and sinfulness as a broken individual, and I’ve been seeing that the only saving adequate to remedy this brokenness, is the very real truth that Jesus, God Himself, took care of my brokenness by being broken on the Cross, and making me whole before a holy God.
Because of this, I’ve come to more and more realizations everyday, just how much better I’m doing than I deserve (as our friend CJ Mahaney would say). And I’m realizing how I need to take more time each and every day to preach this truth to myself, because there are few things that take my mind and heart off of this truth, than the circumstances that life brings (or shall I say, God brings into my life). The times that I’m most ungrateful, most aggravated, most annoyed, and feel that I’m most deserving, or entitled to something, are when life’s situations take my mind of these Gospel truths, and I begin to think and act like the world. Because the main message of the world is this: “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.”
That’s a direct quote from Conan O’Brien, from his closing lines of his final aired show on NBC. And sadly, that’s the message that the world pours into our minds everyday. We hear it through TV, when contestants on “The Voice” say that they worked their whole lives to get to this point and believe in themselves so much that they can do it. We see it through movies, when the missionary in Pirates 4 shows kindness to the mermaid and finally falls in love and gets her in the end (a poor portrayal of what a missionary’s task truly is). We see it all over schools and leading academic and political figures, when the greatest purpose we are told to work for is the betterment of the self.
But the message of the Cross is radically different: work as hard as you want, be as kind as you want, but your amazement will never last. And even more offensive is the message that God says to us through the Cross: Work as hard as you want, be as kind as you want, but I will never be amazed by you. The hard truth is that no matter how hard we work, no matter how kind we are to others, we will never be able to make our broken selves whole enough to last beyond the brokenness of this world.
The Gospel in Life, is that we can work hard, we can be kind, but it will never amount to anything of much lasting worth, unless it’s done in light of the amazing work, and amazing kindness of Christ on the Cross. Our brokenness can only take us so far. Because of our imperfections, our broken lives, and this jacked up world, we are limited in just how much working hard and being nice can actually “save” us from the hardships of this world. That is a task reserved for Christ, and which was meant for Christ alone. And until we realize this, no matter how hard we work, or how nice we try to be, we will always be frustrated and disappointed, left only to be amazed at how futile are efforts were, when we stand before the Creator and King on that final Day.