Back in December, I posted this blog about a book I had began reading and to be quite honest I haven't been able to put the book down in 3 months. AND I would even say this has been a lifechanging book for me. When I first heard of the book Gospel by JD Greear, I thought, "Oh yea, well I know what the gospel is," since I had been saved by it many years ago. But until reading this book, now for my 2nd time through, I honestly never looked at the gospel in the way it was intended all along.
You see "the gospel is not only the means by which we get into heaven, but it is the driving foreve behind every single moment of our life." And I too, just like Pastor JD says about himself, am so thankful to be rediscovering the gospel all over again AND that has given me a joy in God I never experienced in all my years of fervent religion.
The gospel is not just supposed to be our ticket into heave; it is to be an entirely new basis for how we relate to God, ouselves, and others. It is to be the source from which everything else flows. Now that is a game changer for me! Growing up in the church I never remember hearing that the gospel is not just there to "save us" at that moment but to continue to change us as we learn to so adore God that we are consumed with a passion to love Jesus and love others. This sentence struck me to the core, "that we would gladly renounce everything we have to follow Him."
Now although I am a "pastor's wife," for those that know me well you know that this was never the life that I imagined to live. JR and I met in high school and although we did love Jesus, our plan was to have the normal life, normal job, go to church and have a normal family. I would argue that while we are still quite normal I had no idea that we would now be where we are now... renouncing everything we have to follow Him. I will also be honest and say that now that I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, I have so experienced His love for me, that I simply cannot imagine being anywhere else.
Growing up I knew I was supposed to: read my Bible, have a quiet time, pray to God, go to church, etc but the thing that was missing the most for me was not that I had to do these things. I am incredibly grateful that God is continuing to open my eyes that it is completely not about all of these things we should and shouldnt do, but instead being so in love with God and in awe of everything He has done for us, that out of love for Him we cant help but do these things, simply because we want to worship Him and know Him more.
To continue on with the book JD continues to say, "We somehow think God is pleased when we serve Him because we are required to. He's not. God desires a people who desire Him, who serve Him because they love Him. He "seeks those," Jesus said,"who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. In fact, Paul says whatever we do for God that is not fueled by love for Him is ultimately worthless to Him."
Going to church, means nothing. Attending seminary, means nothing! And even being a pastor's wife at a church, means NOTHING! For it is without this complete love for God that even the most radical obedience is of no value to Him.
I can honestly and boldly say that the gospel has done such a work in me that I crave God more than anything else in life- more than having a husband, being a mom, having money, health and even fame. And when I see His kingdom advance in the lives of others it gives me more joy than anything I could own. As JD says, "When we see Jesus as greater than anything else the world can offer, we'll gladly let evrything else go to possess Him. And when we love others like He loves us, we'll willingly yield our possessions to see His kingdom come into their lives."
I think it goes without saying that I HIGHLY recommend the book, "Gospel: Recovering the Power that made Christianity Revolutionary," by JD Greear. If you havent read it before, please do! Truly understanding the meaning of the gospel and being able to view all of life through those lenses is something you will NEVER forget!