4. Understand how the gospel speaks to every area of our life. Simply put, we must practice what we preach. Our culture recognizes hypocrisy like no other. I am certain that today’s believer must attain a more robust understanding of the gospel when it comes to life. The gospel has something to say about every single area of our life. The gospel is not to be compartmentalized to the ‘religious’ portions of our lives, whatever we deem those to be. The gospel, when truly implanted into our lives, radically transforms the way we approach our work, our interactions with our families, the way we handle our finances, the way we steward our time and resources, the way we handle difficult news, the way we treat others, the way we approach our hobbies, etc. One of the greatest ways we can show the world how the gospel has relevancy to their lives is to simply display how it is relevant to ours. Although we experience the same emotions and battle the same temptations and sins, we look at life differently, through different spectacles…the clarity and hope of the gospel.
One of the greatest questions I have ever heard comes from Del Tackett in a worldview series called The Truth Project. This question asks the following…
Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?
According to Tackett, the only way we truly answer this question is through our actions. We can say things with as much conviction as we can possibly muster, but if we truly believe it, it will change the very way we live. We will be different as a result of what we truly believe. When we evangelize, whether consciously or subconsciously, people are asking this question about us. “How much do you really believe this gospel that you are trying to get me to accept?” The answer to that question will play out as we build relationships, as we react to situations, as we interact with our families, as we conduct ourselves in our business, etc. So, do we really believe that the gospel has something to say to every area of our lives? Or are we just asking people to join our religiosity?
This type of gospel understanding will begin to open our eyes to see how we have been commissioned to witness to the gospel in all of public life. In their book, Living at the Crossroads, by Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew, they offer a hymn/poem drafted by the Christian Reform Church entitled “Our World Belongs to God: A contemporary Testimony.” Listen to these words as they paint a picture of God’s rule over all of creation:
The Spirit thrusts God’s people into worldwide mission.
He impels young and old, men and women,
to go next door and far away
into science and art, media and maketplace
with the good news of God’s grace…
Following the apostles, the church is sent–
sent with the gospel of the kingdom…
In a world estranged from God,
where millions face confusing choices,
this mission is central to our being…
The rule of Jesus Christ covers the whole world.
To follow this Lord is to serve him everywhere,
without fitting in,
as light in the darkness, as salt in a spoiling world.
This is how the gospel radically changes our worldview. I read a tweet some time ago that has really stuck with me. It was by posted Jeff Vanderstelt (and earlier by Ed Stetzer), and it said
It’s not so much that God’s Church has been given a mission, but rather that God’s mission has a church.
That is a great quote in and of itself, but I like to take it a little further and individualize it so it reads…
It’s not so much that I have been given a mission, but rather that God’s mission has me.
What if that began to shape our evangelism? What if instead of just simply seeking to be on mission by sharing the gospel we instead began to see that the gospel and God’s mission has us? Every area of our life as been purchased and transformed by this gospel that we proclaim. So, a simply question that has convicted me for some time now: Does God’s mission have you? I mean, completely have you?