We’ve got so many of these titles — the Gospel According to Peanuts, The Simpsons, Biff, Mary Magdalene, and of course, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But of all of them, aside from the actual Gospels in the scriptures, the greatest of them for each one of us is our gospel. Think of it as the Gospel According to Me (which for you would of course be the gospel according to you).
Many of us know and can basically recite the gospel. It is primarily Jesus Christ dead, buried and risen again. It is what secures the forgiveness of sin for the human race. That which bars us from heaven and life with God has been removed. The barrier has been broken down. The gates to heaven have been thrown open. Now, all are welcome. It is, indeed, the Gospel of Welcome. But in the telling of the story, the most important part is that it is the gospel according to each one of us. It’s personal. It is His story, yes, but it is our story, too.
This is, of course, what makes the gospel real. It is a dynamically moving story. It is told from two perspectives — what God has done (that’s the objective part: the gospel story as told in the scriptures) and what God has done for me (that’s the subjective part: the part that includes my story — your story — and how we came to know Christ and what He means to each one of us, personally, day by day).
This may seem too obvious to even make a point of it, but it is not. It is profoundly why we are here on earth. If God didn’t need us to help tell His story, He would just take us to be with Him as soon as we got saved. But we are an integral part of the plan. It doesn’t become real except that it comes through us.
And it’s not just the gospel story as told by us, it is the reality of our relationship with God on a daily basis that becomes our own gospel. It’s cause and effect. What the gospel did for us, and what it continues to do for us, in and through the knowledge of Christ in our lives. That’s why all the details of our lives are extremely important. You and I are walking, talking scripture.
Either this is true or it is not, and the proving ground becomes my life and your life — all the intricacies of how God relates to us and how we relate to Him. This is the fragrance of Christ to God that is going on all the time in us (2 Corinthians 2:16). And this is why each one of us is so important: we are each so different, that we tell a different part of the story. The gospel doesn’t make us all the same; it blends into each of our lives to show a different aspect of God’s multi-faceted character.
So as you go through your day, think of yourself as an open book. It’s an on-going story. It’s never over. Every day is another chapter; every relationship is another read. It’s the living version of the old, old story so get ready to tell it. It’s The Gospel According to Me (and You). It’s personal, fresh, and ever new.
It reminds me of the following given to me many years ago (so forgive the sexist language):
You are writing each day a gospel to men
Make sure that the writing is true
For the only gospel some men will read
Is the gospel according to you.
“Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you’.” — Ezekiel 12:11
Faith is sometimes characterized as an intellectual or emotional crutch for the weak-minded. But those of us who understand the rich heritage of Scripture know better. We know that faith entails a constant struggle to better serve our Creator – to give thanks to Him for sustaining us and giving our lives meaning.
This is no easy task. After all, where should we possibly begin? Humanity being far from perfect, it seems that we have before us an endless “to-do list” if we want to truly serve the Almighty.
This is why I’ve always thought that Ezekiel’s simple message here in Chapter 12 is so powerful and comforting at the same time. Throughout his prophetic career, Ezekiel was assigned the task of instructing his countrymen on how to correct their errant behavior so as to better serve God. Not only was this often a thankless task but, if you really think about it, also an incredibly difficult one.
Think about our own lives: is it ever easy to point out to another person – whether a friend or family member – that he or she is behaving improperly and should endeavor to change? Aside from the awkward nature of such encounters, we also realize that it’s difficult to criticize someone else when we may be guilty of the very same flaw or some other flaw. Wouldn’t pointing out someone else’s problem sound hypocritical?
God Himself acknowledges this basic problem; He tells Ezekiel that instead of just haranguing his audience, berating them into changing, he should actually go out and set a good example. Through his own actions, Ezekiel demonstrated for others how to live a life in service to God. He was “a sign.”
Let’s make this our goal. If we find ourselves in the company of those behaving poorly, or if we feel that another person could benefit from changing his or her ways, let’s not act as judge. Instead, let us work as hard as we can to ensure that we, ourselves, are behaving well and setting a good example.
Imagine, if we set just one good example a day, how many lives we could alter forever!
~ Holy Land Moments Daily Devotionals: “Leader For The Good” (02-26-2020)
Well done. Thanks for this, Bob.
We try so hard to be this perfect, ideal Christian…until we realize, hopefully sooner than later, that there is no such thing. People need to see our failures, our struggles. They need to see us work through those times (with God’s strength). They need to see our struggle to stand up and put one foot in front of the other again. That portrays honesty and a hope for their own lives.
It’s easy to find fault. Human nature wants to shine the light away from our own failings. So we rush in and spout words we later regret. Unless the circumstance is life-threatening, what we feel is so important to remark upon can wait…so we can LISTEN. Here’s a saying that I find worth heeding, ” If you think you have something to say, raise your hand…then put it over your mouth.” That gives me time to hear the other person (with God’s ears) and then follow the Spirit’s leading. Saves much grief all around.