WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD?
The life of the Christian is one of continual repentance and belief, without which we slip into a boss/employee, earn/wage, work/rights relationship with our God. It then becomes the loving responsibility for each of us to run gospel diagnostics to determine whether or not what motivates our actions is “in step” with the gospel (Gal. 2:14).
Preaching the gospel to yourself and to others is an art that all of us must grow in if we seek to see real and lasting change in our lives. It is often assumed the gospel is only for those who have not yet trusted Christ. As we know, this is a faulty view of the gospel and limits its work to a personal salvation experience rather than the explosive power and catalytic dynamic for renewal in our hearts on a continuous basis.
To sum up, the life of the Christian is one of continual repentance and belief, without which we slip into a boss/employee, earn/wage, work/rights relationship with our God. It then becomes the loving responsibility for each of us to run gospel diagnostics to determine whether or not what motivates our actions is “in step” with the gospel (Gal. 2:14).
We must spend time excavating our idols by asking these questions. When we sin, we do so because some idol has promised us power, prestige, influence, joy, peace, satisfaction, security, pleasure, etc., that is far more attractive than Christ at the moment. We don’t sin with a gun held to our heads, we do so willingly because it is overwhelmingly appealing.
We need to discover why they are so appealing by asking these questions and then remind ourselves that idols:
- are weak
- can’t deliver when you succeed; they can only raise the bar
- can’t forgive when you fail; they will only condemn you
- are harmful to you and to others
- hurt you spiritually, emotionally and physically
- hurt others by undermining your ability to love
- are grievous to God
By pursuing this idol you are saying to God, “Jesus is not enough. I also need ______ to be happy.”
Getting to the root of such idols is incredibly liberating and helps us to hit our target rather than shadow boxing with sin, swinging in the dark without much success. The dynamic of the Gospel not only saves us from the penalty of our sins, it also defangs and cuts the power of sin at it’s root as we look forward in hope to the complete removal of its presence at the return of our King.
HERE ARE SOME GOSPEL QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:
1) What is my greatest nightmare? What do I worry about most?
2) What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live? What keeps me going?
3) What do I rely on or comfort myself with when things go bad or get difficult?
4) What do I think most easily about? Where does my mind go to when I am free? What pre-occupies me?
5) What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
6) What makes me feel most self-worth? What am I the proudest of ?
7) What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
8) What position of authority do I desire to give me a sense of power?
9) Whose opinion of me do I hold so dear that if lost I would be undone?
10) What type of financial loss or gain would change my sense of security?
11) What one criticism would cause me to respond in anger (wife, children, work, ministry, family, friends, etc.)? What am I most touchy about when brought to my attention?
12) If I had ______________, then I’d be truly happy and feel as if my life has meaning and value.
13) If I lost ______________, I would be undone.
14) I’m impatient because I’m ____________.
15) I’m critical because I’m _____________.
16) I’m angry because I’m _____________.
17) I’m unhappy because I’m ____________.
18) I’m in despair because I’m ____________.
19) I have hope because I’m ___________.
20) I feel worthy because I’m ___________.