Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Gospel Power

Much stress throughout my previous writings has been placed upon temporary earthly things which Christians seek hard after. It’s no coincidence that perhaps you might stumble upon something similar in this blog; because by entering God’s presence daily, I am constantly reminded that it is truly not about worldly achievements-whatever they may be. In this blog I carry on to discuss how we place less value on the Gospel of Christ and eternal things while overvaluing that which is of less importance to God. I will also by the help of the Holy Spirit attempt to explain what the Gospel of Christ is and what it’s not. In addition to that, I will explain the concept of what reward entails to Christianity, giving examples from personal experience and citing God’s Word. Lastly, I will briefly outline the importance of the Gospel and the impact it has had in my life and those who believe. I pray that this blog will enlighten you as freshly as it did me from first-hand experience; my spirit led by the Holy Spirit, touching yours word by word.

Many Christians have made the Gospel of Jesus a subjective matter- a matter primarily of personal gain. Christianity for them is about what they can receive, a type of reward for choosing to follow Jesus. The reward expectation of course is marriage, fame, wealth, a perception of one as important by society, and many other needs people have, and expect to be fulfilled once they come to Christ. I believe that is the result of people coming to Christ out of their own strength or trying to please another who forced them to, rather than having a real encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. A person who’s had a real encounter with the Lord, who had to do nothing but believe for the Lord to save him, seeks God not for what He can give but for who He is. At first maybe a little immature; a Christian might think that following Jesus is all about him but hopefully as he matures spiritually; he comes to see that actually following Jesus is exactly that-following Him- and not the other way around.

The Gospel centres on Jesus not our expectations. And if there be needs to be met, Jesus has to become our priority, our number one need. I sit in church services with the blind, the deadly ill, the paralyzed; meanwhile the healthy, fit, and strong are claiming their cars. I begin to wonder- wouldn’t it be more of a miracle for the blind to see or the lame to walk than for the pedestrian to have a car? I realised then that I’m not one to criticize because we have different needs and struggles; some just seem more severe had they been allotted to us. I pondered upon this matter: since then we have different needs and some needs seem less severe than others, why instead of focusing on our respective needs we shift the focus to Christ? When the focus is on Christ the issue of marriage would not be a matter to be coveted by singles because they’ll learn the secret of being content in the state they’re in. As unbearable as it seems, the blind, the lame, and the sick would also learn the secret of contentment in their condition. We will all follow in the Apostle Paul’s example who said, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil4:12).

The Gospel of Jesus is about love- genuine, real, agape, Godly love. God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John3:16). Christ’s Gospel is summed up in these two laws, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as you love yourself.”(Luke10:27) Seeking God only for what He can give us reveals that we don’t love Him to such an extent (heart, soul, strength, and mind). We love Him only when we want something from Him, we love Him based on our emotions, on our terms; no doubt we fail to love others. Our reaction upon seeing people we perceive as bad coming to church or involved in religious duties is one of pride instead of rejoicing, like- “who would have thought that so and so would be here today”. But thankfully the Gospel is for everyone, Christ loves everyone, and He saves all those who call upon His name, some in childhood, others in adolescence, and yet others in adulthood. The thing about making the Gospel about worldly blessings is that it leaves no room for loving others. Many “spiritual” persons who are highly blessed by God are those who look down on others, thinking everyone is bewitching them. Instead of loving they pride in what they have and in who they are. However, Christians who understand the Gospel of Christ are different; there are some loving people in the Church.

The hope of the Gospel gives heavenly reward pre-eminence over earthly rewards. We don’t follow Jesus to gain earthly rewards but we look ahead to an eternal crown. Let me share a story with you which will illustrate what I’m saying. I was travailing in cooperate prayer at a prayer camp during the December holidays. Hot tears streamed down my face which I assume caught the attention of five year old Hannah. After I had finished praying lying on the ground, she came over to me asking me why I was crying. Not knowing how to explain, I softly replied, ‘Because I love Jesus so much”. She asked me why I was lying on the floor and not on the chairs. With my love of entertaining kids I replied, “I’m scared to do so.” She said, “It’s okay you don’t need to be scared”, showing me everyone else who laid on the chairs. Playing with her, I put on a sad face and said, “No, but I’m scared”. She was not relenting. She flipped two chairs over, got on top of them and laid on them, and said, “Look, look at me! I’m lying on them”. Eventually I gave in. I got off the ground, flipped two chairs over, and laid on them. The chairs didn’t fit my entire body so when she saw my legs hanging, Hannah flipped another chair over and placed my feet on it. As she left my sight, without expecting it; I shouted, “Thank You!” Hannah was not expecting a reward; she just did what she felt was her duty. She didn’t need me to validate her good work with my thank you or smile or a couple of candies. Out of genuine love and real concern she just wanted me to be comfortable. We have to receive God’s kingdom like little children. We have to serve God for who He is and not for what He can give. We have to be like the servants Jesus talked about in Luke17:7-10 whom after doing their masters duty said, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”

The impact the Gospel has once it’s received with meekness has tremendous power for those who believe. That’s why Paul said that he is “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans1:16). Coming to Jesus for wealth or for marriage is superficial to the real power of the Gospel of Christ. The gospel gives hope to everyone; it gives life to the lifeless. The Gospel has saved many young men from going to jail or being killed, it has saved young women from falling victim to the hands of predators. I know how great a change it is from death to life! The Gospel of Jesus Christ has saved me from the fear of revealing my true self; from being psychotic; from seeking affirmation; from performing crazy acts; from giving myself to every male that crosses my path; from acquiring sexual diseases; from being a failure! The Gospel has saved me from many other things which I fall short to mention, but I will not take light of the fact that the Gospel has saved my soul from going to hell. Receive with meekness the engrafted Word of God which is able to save your soul.

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