December 8, 2006

2 brands of Gospel-deficiency

It was a great joy to talk with a friend at the local Starbucks (one of 8, now) on Wednesday night. As we were talking about our struggles and of the joys of knowing Christ and experiencing the gospel, he brought up something that has been ringing in my ears the last 2 days. As we were talking about the gospel, he said to me, "It has occured to me that we have two common struggles with the gospel: Gospel-amnesia or Gospel-gap." He went on to tell me what he meant, although not much thought is required to see the intended meaning.

Obviously, Gospel-amnesia is simply forgetting about the gospel when it comes to our everyday lives. We do not witness because we simply do not think about the gospel at all. It has become de-prioritized in our lives. It is not the song on our lips when we rise from sleep. It is not the last thought at night when we lie down. We have simply forgotten about the gospel, and we therefore do not live lives controlled by the gospel.

Secondly, we oftentimes experienced Gospel-gap. What my friend meant by this term is that we know the gospel, we talk about the gospel, we think about the gospel, but then, when a difficulty arises, we fail to see the relevance of the gospel to our life situation. This hit me hardcore. This is where I live and struggle. I rehearse the gospel, but a situation comes up in my life that's hard, and I don't see the connection between the two. Consequently, I live the same way, as if I didn't ever know the gospel. After all, it didn't really affect the way I lived.

The solution to Gospel-amnesia is simple. We must make efforts to live lives packed with gospel-driven people (the church - hopefully one in your area!) and gospel-driven materials (sermons, books).

The solution to Gospel-gap while similar to the amnesia solution is not quite as easily determined. I think the solution is that we need to build strong gospel-centered relationships where, when we are struggling, we cry out to others, and they help us see the relevancy of the gospel to our situation. This is one of the most vital aspects of the Christian race.

Here's a case study:

A woman recently had a stroke behind her optic nerve. She will be blind for life at age 51. She knows Christ. How does the gospel give her help in this trial? I must say there is a struggle to come up with a solution here.

We all must be seeking to be this for other people: applying the gospel to our friends' lives, so that they realize the centrality of the gospel in every situation.