I am always amazed at the blatant disconnect that people have between their functional and their confessional theology. Many people call themselves Christians but their approach to daily issues and problems is far from being centered on and around the gospel.
We have no issue reciting the tenants of our faith. But those gospel-saturated truths seem to stay in dusty books, in study bibles that are not being used and in apps that are tucked away into far corners of our pixellated screens. These truths that are supposed to give us power are rarely exercised.
That is the biggest difference I see between people who are weak in their faith and people who have a strong faith ethic. The people who are able to react rightly to life situations and approach conflict calmly and carefully.
The one highly essential habit of every mature Christian is their supernatural ability to never ever stop believing in the power of the gospel.
This is what separates people who are living a victorious life and people who become victims of the enemy.
What do I mean when I speak of the gospel? The gospel is the good news of what Jesus accomplished at the Cross of Calvary in my place for my sin. The gospel is the great news that all of the life problems and complexities that I may encounter have already found their yes, their amen and their resolution at the foot of the Cross of Christ. When you approach your life with this mindset, your vantage point radically changes.
The apostle Paul writes to the Colossians and says the following: If you want to continue in the faith, if you want to live life from a distinctly gospel-centered position, if you want to remain stable and steadfast in your journey of faith — you absolutely must not shift from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which has been proclaimed in all of creation under heaven (Col. 1:23).
The idea Paul is introducing here is very similar to Jesus’ story of the one person who built their house on sand and the other person who built their home on a firm foundation, on a rock (Matt. 7:24-27). Let’s discuss this for a few moments.
I want to provide for you three ways in which you can develop this highly essential habit of never stopping to believe in the powerful gospel of Jesus:
1. Do Not Become A Self Professed False Teacher. Paul is calling us to build our lives on a firm foundation that is not easily swayed by shifting sands of false teaching. Who are the false teachers? We are. We become false teachers and false prophets when we begin to preach to ourselves a gospel that is not of Jesus. We begin to think that estranged relationship can never be mended. We begin to think people who have a hard heart towards the gospel will never acknowledge Jesus as their Lord. We begin to think that our spouse will never be more Christ-like. We begin to live life as if we are responsible for the change that we desperate desire in the people close to us. We begin to handle conflict as if we know the answer to everything. We begin to pray less and less because our prayers are not instantly answered. We begin to take matters in to our own hands and rely heavily on our charisma, talent and abilities to take on life.
2. Avoid Shifting The Gear Of The Gospel. What is making us shift from the hope of the gospel? The highly essential habit of a mature Christian is a perpetual preaching of the gospel to yourself personally. This very truth has shattered my false understanding of what the gospel of Jesus really is and how potent it actually is. We must build our hope on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness. The minute we begin to belittle the gospel in our lives is the minute our life begins to fall apart. What makes some people freak out about every single little fluctuation in their life? What makes other react in a collective manner worthy of praise? It is because this latter group perpetually positions the gospel as the lens through which every single life situation is filtered. When we looked at life in this manner, our conflict resolution would change. The way we handle and approach every day life situations would change as well.
3. Make An Intentional Decision Right Now. There is no better time to start developing this essential habit then today. Start doing it right now. I challenge you to preach the gospel to yourself right now. I challenge you to bring the biggest issue burning in your mind right now to the cross of Christ. I challenge you to ask God to make the gospel so powerful and tangible in your life that your entire world view would be shaken and altered. Do not wait to do this until the holidays are over. Do not wait until 2012 to do this. Allow the gospel to penetrate every single area of your life, starting right now.
Start developing this highly essential habit today. God will be the glad recipient of glory. You will be the gospel-centered person spreading contagious joy to the people in your life.
Question: What steps have you specifically taken to begin to develop this high essential habit in your own life? What best practices can you share with the rest of the community?