My mom said in alarm, What are you doing!
I said, Trying to get the cover off the lampshade.
She said, That is the lampshade!
I’ve been making the same mistake with the gift of the gospel –trying to peel past the simplicity of it to get to the deeper answers for all of life’s problems.
Recently the Lord has been saying to me, The gospel IS the answer.
I thought it was just the simple beginning –the wrapping that you have to get past in order to discover the greater wisdom on how to live life.
The gospel IS the “How to Do Everything”.
Tim Keller, in The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, says, “We have to re-live the gospel.” We bring our How do I…? questions to the mental re-enactment of Jesus death and resurrection.
This is what it looks like:
- HOW do I forgive this person who hurt me so deeply? (Re-enact how God forgave me by the laying down of His Son’s life.)
- HOW do I deal with my shame? (Re-enact Jesus taking the weight of my filth and shortcomings on Himself at the cross.)
- How do I avoid pride and bragging? (Re-enact the leveling truth of the cross, in revealing my heart to be just as sinful as the person’s next to me.)
- HOW do I trust that God will be good to me? (I say, with Paul, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all –how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 NIV)
- HOW do I know my purpose in life? (Re-enact my confession of Christ as Lord –Romans 10:9. Now I am His servant taking His orders and carrying out His will.)
- HOW do I get through this day? (Re-enact the ripping in two of the temple curtain upon the death of Christ, revealing my complete access to God and all of His resources. Re-enact the power that raised Jesus from the dead and know that same power lives in me.)
- HOW do I have hope? (Re-enact the empty tomb and the promise that I will also have a new body and a new life one day.)
- HOW do I endure my present difficulty? (Re-enact the perseverance of Christ on the cross. Follow His example.)
- HOW do I manage my self-esteem? (Re-enact the unmerited gift of love and righteousness given to me at the cross when tempted to feel like a loser or when tempted to feel arrogant.)
To bypass the gospel in search of more complex instructions for living is like trying to peel the cover off a lamp that doesn’t have a cover.