Living out the Good News of Jesus..
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
I’m not ashamed of the Gospel – but living out the Gospel day to day….not always an easy thing to do, is it? Life can be a challenge, especially if you have young kids. The pressure of meeting life’s obligations, of growing and looking after your family can be a pressure cooker that can bring out the worst and / or best in us. In addition to responding in a Christ-Like manner to life , is how we have grown up and the coping mechanisms we have learnt over time, which can influence our response to different situations. How we see ourselves, how we view others and even how we see God contribute to our attitudes and actions.
I remember being introduced to the Johari Window in my psychology studies. This model highlights how in our lives there are parts of our character which are known to ourselves and to others, a facade that we may present but then also parts of who we are that are unknown to ourselves but recognized by others. And then, those parts that are unknown to ourselves or others. The diagram below may help you understand a bit better. Now my objective here is not to present the theory of Johari’s model, but to emphasize that there are things we do in our lives that we are not always aware of, but others recognize that behaviour in us. Important, if we want to be more effective in living out the Gospel of Jesus in our day to day lives.
Even more important, is that our behaviour is usually defined by “how we see ourselves” For example, if we are self-critical, or even carry around issues of low self esteem, we may be more judgemental or critical of others. The question is then – how do I as a Christ Follower become more like Christ so as to live out His Gospel?
We need to both look inward and upward and ask ourselves these 4 questions. (loosely based on Johari’s model.
1. How do I see myself?
2.How do others see me?
3.How do I see God?
4.How does God see me?
How do I see myself?
How do I see or view God?
How do others see me (or) how do I think others see me?
How does God see me?
Our behaviour and attitude can be defined by not what we have learnt, what has happened to us, how we have been bought up, the words spoken over our lives ( positive or negative words) resulting in our view of self and view of others and our (sometimes mistaken belief) of how others see me.
Our relationship with God can also have a bearing on our behaviour. If we view God as angry, we live in fear. If we view God as distant, we don’t come closer or will not seek a more intimate relationship. If we have a mistaken understanding of Gods love and grace, our behaviour will be defined by that view. Jesus taught us that “we shall know the truth, and the truth shall set us free”
The truth that sets us free is the truth about who we truly are,
who God is ( His character )
and how God sees us.
It is this truth that will transform and sanctify us, change us, adjust our attitudes and bring us closer to God.
Paul writes about Gods power to save in Romans and how he is not ashamed of this power, but then he goes on to talk about Gods wrath being revealed. Something we often do, is to focus only on Gods grace, mercy and perfect love. It is good to know and receive Gods love and experience His mercy, but this needs to done recognizing the contrast of Gods holiness and His wrath towards sinfulness and wickedness. How can we recognize the value of His forgiveness and our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ without acknowledging what we are being saved from?
Jesus said “ forgiven much, loved much” When we recognize the truth of who we are and how much God has forgiven us and loved and the judgement from which we have been saved, our response would lead us to transformation and a change of heart.
But looking inward (some call it reflection, introspection, or even conviction by the Holy Spirit) is only part of the transformative process, it is important that we look upward. We will not be transformed if our focus is always on who we are and what we have done wrong. Paul wrote “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who believe” We will be transformed when we keep our eyes on God and remain in Jesus.
Recognize the saving grace of God, recognize what you have been saved from but then recognize God and all His power, love grace and mercy and begin to accept Gods vision of WHO YOU ARE.
Are you able to see yourself as God sees you? Forgiven. Saved. Redeemed. Perfect. Loved. Considered. Holy.
Perhaps not immediately, it is a process of being transformed into His likeness, but the change of attitude leads to a change in action and behaviour.
Remember the question I asked earlier? “ How do I as a Christ Follower become more like Christ?” I abide in Jesus – I spend time in Gods word. Spend some time in these scriptures that highlight how God sees you, cares for you and loves you, and as you “abide” in Christ and His word, His word will abide in you and His light will shine forth from you.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence.
Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Jesus Christ. He freely chose to do this
so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory.
Through the blood of his Son, we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness.
He poured out his kindness by giving us every kind of wisdom and insight
when he revealed the mystery of his plan to us. He had decided to do this through Christ.
Nothing….will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus.
I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.
One final question- What does God want you to do in response to His love?
Be His light in this dark world.
Be the hands of Christ.
Be his heart, His voice, His love!