Part 2: Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel…
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel… to the only wise God be glory… through Jesus Christ.
How do we impart bite to our personal gospel? There are certain patterns we can trace from the Apostle’s life. First, Paul did not initially “confer with flesh and blood.” He processed his experience during a solitary sojourn in Arabia, seeking the face of God, the mind of Christ, and the instruction of the Holy Spirit. Do we meditate on the Scriptures we read or on the sermons we hear? Secondly, back in Tarsus, he wove goat hair into tents while exercising his intellect and honing his people skills. Does our faith shine in church, but hide under a lamp stand at work? Thirdly, Paul accepted the price – fear within and fighting without – of going public with his gospel. Are we aware that Christ commands our obedience? Fourthly, he joined himself to fellow believers in warm and loving bonds of friendship, whether in person or by letter. Do we impress the people in our life by how much we know, or by how much we care?
“My” gospel is God’s grace personified. It is not sugary syrup gluing us into a perpetual state of bliss, but muriatic acid that keeps foaming up and eating away at everything that does not make its boast in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. (Part 2 of 2)
Comment: We hear it daily from all quarters, “My God” this and “My God” that. If that makes us cringe, so does “my gospel” as defined by Paul. Picture him relishing Isaiah 50:4, where we get an uneasy impression that it is “the early bird that gets the worm.” Tough luck for the night owl who loves sleep best after dawn. “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. Morning by morning he wakens, he wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” To my surprise then, God is after my ear more than my tongue. He prizes my listening skills more than my eloquence. His secret weapon is compassion, not zeal for making converts. Surely it is our broken, hurting and cynical world that makes for the countless “weary” ones of God’s concern. Are they venting their hopelessness by saying “my God” so habitually precisely because they don’t know Him? The word “gospel” reflects the “good news” that He is knowable. “My gospel” reflects the “good news” that in looking at His Son, I see His Father’s character. I have taken a shine to His brand – unconditional love and lasting redemption. If I let Jesus make me winsome, I’m sure He’ll let me “win some” kids to join His family.