These words of wisdom hit me hard last night during our discipleship class... so hard, in fact, that I wrote them down in all caps, and underlined them:
DON'T FORGET THE GOSPEL.
RECEIVE IT DAILY IN YOUR LIFE.
APPLY IT (LIKE SOAP).
The bit about soap actually dates back to 2003, old college days when our InterVarsity staff/mentor, Marshall, explained that the Bible is like soap - it does no good, just sitting on a shelf for your viewing pleasure; it's gotta be applied. Words of wisdom I have never forgotten. I used this a lot when I taught youth group in 2005-2007 (Shout out to my now-grown-up TCF kids!). Studying Scripture and learning from it and living by it has been a majorly important thing to me for a long time, and I love sharing it with others.
But I realized last night that often in my personal study time, I skim over the verses that are directly gospel-driven, as in: "Remember what you were, what God saved you from, and how he did it." Maybe I start to think that since I am already saved, and have been for many years, that part doesn't apply to me anymore. I like to camp more on verses about how to live now... and those are good verses, much needed, but if I forget why I am called to a new life, I can easily fall into legalism and religion and rituals, and get dependent on myself rather than God.
Pastor Nick stressed that if we are going to share the gospel with others, it needs to be alive and at work in our own lives. No wonder sometimes it feels like a strain to talk and be enthusiastic about the good news... I don't let it continually change and affect me! In fact, I think there are days when I don't even think about my own salvation and what it costs. On the days when I do remember, it floors me... I'm overwhelmed with awe and thanks and joy, and it is a beautiful thing to live in the light of that truth.
So I want to make this a daily exercise: to remember the gospel story in my life and ask God to constantly use it to change me and draw me closer to Him. I'd like to ask for your help in this too... will you remind me of the beauty and truth of the gospel? And I will do the same for you. The more often we speak it and pour it into each other's lives, the more naturally it will overflow to others. That is what a gospel community is all about.