By Brandon Lemons
Throughout the “Church on Mission” series, I am writing devotionals to help us reflect on the topics of the sermons. This devotional differs from the others in that it isn’t focused on just one passage. Instead, this devotional lists statements that highlight practical ways the Gospel can transform our lives, including how it frees and inspires us to care well for others.
I first heard this list at a conference, from a pastor named John Lynch. I was so enthralled by these descriptions of how the Gospel impacts our lives that I asked him for a copy of the statements and received permission to edit and share them. I edited them a bit and identified Bible verses that support the Gospel truths in each statement. Several times through the years, I have read sections of this list in sermons; each time, I’ve heard the same reaction that I had when I heard them from John Lynch: people are inspired by them and request copies of them, just like I did.
I encourage you to read these statements multiple times – perhaps each day for a week, or once a week for several months. As we internalize the Gospel, it will transform: 1) how we relate to God, 2) how we view ourselves, 3) the motives that drive us, and 4) the way we treat others.
If I know I have worth because of God’s choice of fully loving me…
Then I don’t have to manufacture a reason to be loved.
I can, instead, love others and offer them affirmation and attention.
If I know my acceptance by God is irrevocable…
Then I don’t have to gossip about others to tear them down and bring myself up.
I can, instead, protect their heart and build them up.
If I know I’m loved by God only because of His good pleasure…
Then I don’t have to compete with others in child-raising, money, godliness, home decorating, accolades, or friends.
I can, instead, work for others’ success and see their success as mine also.
If I know I’m rich in God already in everything that matters…
Then I don’t have to prove my wealth in money, status, looks, career, competence, notoriety, and talent.
I can, instead, use my time to pay attention to others’ needs.
(2 Corinthians 8:9)
If I know that I’ll be taken care of by God’s sovereign protection...
Then I don’t have to preoccupy myself, scheming and pressuring myself to getting ahead and doing things to get noticed.
I can, instead, look around and see who is hurting.
If I know that God is already pleased with me in Christ…
Then I don’t have to busy myself with proving my worth.
I can rest, relax, play and give my full attention to others, and at the end of the day, I can smile and sleep well.
If I know that God’s definition of success is not the same as the world’s…
Then I don’t have to make “success” my driving passion.
I can, instead, let character, integrity, faithfulness, and love be my drive.
(1 Samuel 16:7)
If I know God is in control of my moment-to-moment needs…
Then I don’t have to control others.
I can, instead, free them by my trust of them.
If I know God isn’t judging me by a standard of who is the best leader, or who has the most authority…
Then I don’t have to worry about positioning myself.
I can, instead, submit to others’ strengths and protect their weaknesses.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5)
If I know God is for me…
Then I don’t have to prove myself by my righteousness.
I can listen to others’ hearts to teach mine.
If I know God is always gracious toward me…
Then I don’t have to be gruff, demanding, intolerant, judging.
I can instead offer grace, mercy, and forgiveness to those around me.
If I know that I am a new creature, crucified with Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, forgiven completely, justified, redeemed and sanctified, with Jesus and His intimate love present every single moment…
Then I no longer have to beat myself up, mistrust myself, pretend I can’t please God, or pretend I can’t live for Him.
I can then start to experience and enjoy my sweet Savior every single day of my life.
(1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
A prayer to pray: Gracious God, thank you for the Gospel. Thank you that you so loved the world that you gave your one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. And thank you that the truths of the Gospel can transform my life here and now, as well as for eternity. Please empower me by your Spirit to internalize your love and grace. Replace my false perceptions, insecurities, and idolatries with the beautiful realities of who I am in you, as a new creation in Christ. May the Gospel transform my attitudes, words, and actions toward others as well, that they may see the love and grace of Jesus living in and through me. I pray these things in His name, Amen.