One of the biggest challenges as a believer is remembering the gospel! I on a daily basis, even a moment to moment basis, am tempted for forget the gospel. It is so easy as a believer to just flat out get caught up in other things, secondary things, in life and then forget the hope and the security we have in Christ! A conversation with a dear friend this morning reminded me of this verse:
“For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.”- 2 Peter 1:9-10
If we want to grow in Christ, and mature as a believer, we must FIGHT to REMEMBER! If we want to obey the Lord, we must fight hard to remember what Christ has already done.
Why is it so incredibly hard to remember? Why can’t we remember this all of the time?! Why can’t we just keep this at the forefront of our minds? Because we are human. We are sinful, flawed humans who get distracted by other things. No wonder the Lord likens us to sheep! It is so easy to be tempted to go and find greener pastures elsewhere. It is so easy to wander into another pasture and set up camp there because we think it’s greener. Or because it “seems” more spiritual. We get caught up in discussions about things that really don’t matter a hill of beans. Why? Because it is easier to discuss how we can “do better” “kick harder” “look nicer” – the things that we can control- because it’s easier than remembering and resting. It appeals to our very nature to “do for ourselves”.
Do you notice that the epistles are written to churches full of believers? We like to take the epistles and go through them and pick out our lists of things we are supposed to do, but do we ever stop to notice how the writers always unashamedly preach the gospel to the church?! There is a reason! It’s because we FORGET the gospel! We need the reminder!
Believers who don’t constantly live in light of the gospel LOVE to come and tell those of us who do, that we need to “be careful” or “not go too far” when it comes to grace and the gospel. They will warn you of “falling away” or “living licentiously”. That you really DO need more law to keep yourself “balanced”. Um, can I just boldly and unashamedly say HOG WASH!? If you are living in light of the beautiful gospel, you are constantly drawing near to Christ. Because our love for Jesus is responsive in nature, it will cause you to WANT to be close to Jesus. It will cause you to WANT to obey Him. It will cause you to WANT to read your bible more. It will cause you to WANT to pray more. It will cause you to WANT to serve Christ more. Do people use grace as a license to sin? Yes. Why do we think Paul says, “Should we sin that grace may abound? May it NEVER be!!” (My translation, of course!)
Here’s the difference btwn gospel centered people and the people who use grace as an excuse to sin. Gospel loving people are focused on Christ. They are focused on the love of Christ. They are focused on and overwhelmed by what Christ has done for them. They are not looking for a way to “get away” with something. They are not looking to see how far they can take grace. In fact, they aren’t worried about their lives at all. Naturally, the things that Jesus loves, they love. The things that Jesus hates, they hate. The rest, of it- they aren’t concerned about. They love to talk about Jesus. They are increasingly more interested in the gospel and increasingly loving others. On the contrary, sin loving people are constantly pointing to their lives and the things they are allowed to get away with. They rarely talk about Jesus. They talk about themselves. They don’t rest in Christ and they don’t share him with others. They aren’t excited to talk about Jesus’ love for them- they are excited to talk about what they are allowed to do as a result of what Jesus has done for them. They are constantly focused on self.
That is a HUGE contrast. Friends, don’t let people make you feel as if focusing more on Jesus is going to lead you away from Christ. It will only lead you away from the desire to fit a religious mold. It will only lead you away from a desire to care about secondary issues.
So how do we fight to REMEMBER?! There are a few ways:
*Prayer. Hands down, the number one way to live with the gospel in the forefront of your mind is to pray and ask the Lord to help you remember. Every situation that arises, ask the Lord to help you see how the gospel applies right there. We will never understand the gospel on our own strength and we will be constantly tempted to move away from it. Pray, pray PRAY!
*Talk about it with other like-minded believers. Find people whom you KNOW understand the gospel and live in light of it and preach to each other on a regular basis. Preaching to the choir is an awesome way to be refreshed! As iron sharpens iron!!!! I have one friend in particular, I swear, we must have the same conversation every time we get on the phone! But an hour can fly by and we don’t even realize it because we are knee deep in talking about the gospel and how it applies to every situation we are facing. She tends to be my favorite person to talk to! (And ps. I HATE talking on the phone usually)
*Listen to preaching that is gospel saturated! I feed myself all week long listening to teachers and preachers to apply the gospel to every day life. I need to hear from different angles and different mouths those same truths!
*Read gospel centered books. Don’t pick up books that will give you a list of things that you need to be doing. If that book is about another list of rules, put it down and step away! That will NOT help you grow and it will certainly not help you live in light of the gospel! Jerry Bridges, Paul David Tripp, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Tullian Tchividijan, and Mark Driscoll are a few authors who are very gospel driven. Oh! CJ Mahaney and John Piper are also amazing!
*Read your bible! Last on my list, but not at all least- read your bible and LOOK for Jesus. Look for the gospel. Look for what Jesus has done for you! As I was sharing with my friend this morning, I feel as though I have a whole new bible. The way that it reads now is so different from how I read it before! All I see is Jesus now! What a great freedom!!! It makes you want to read it more and more!
Anyhow, I was so blessed with this reminder today after talking with a friend and I had to share because I know I’m not alone! So take heart, my gospel loving friends! Press forward and keep fighting to remember!!!
***And for a great conference to listen to, here is the Liberate conference from this year! Click the link HERE to listen! I am going to listen this week~***