Galatians 1 – 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
I’m reading these words this morning, and I’m thinking ….
What does it mean? How does it apply to me?
Because I don’t think I’m not personally trying to change the words of Jesus.
But then I have to be completely honest. Because I have those areas where I want to “edit” His Word to suit my wants, my emotions, and my brokenness.
And so I keep thinking ….
Thinking about my choices.
Thinking about relationships.
Thinking about people.
And I’m wondering – do we have a group of modern day believers who are “watering down” the gospel to make it fit what we want (now)?
Yes, I think we do.
How do I know? Phrases like “God is/will be OK with ___” or “God doesn’t mind that I ___” or “God doesn’t really mean ____”.
And it’s a slippery slope.
One choice made, maybe with a slight hesitation or a momentary doubt.
And sin steps in and sows a seed of discord and disharmony.
Another choice made, usually a little easier than the first.
And sin plants another seed to divide us from God.
With each step it gets easier to turn away from God’s best.
With each step we get faster at tuning a deaf ear to God’s whisper.
With each step sin grabs another piece of our hearts.
With each step sin continues to divide us from God’s love.
With each step sin convinces us we are right and deserve to be so.
With each step sin pollutes our thinking.
Until one day we have turned “the gospel of Christ” we once believed and cherished and revered into the gospel of self. Because we wanted something just outside of God’s best and just around God’s grace. So we pushed for it. We edged around truth. We reasoned away right.
And then, with each word we recite in our gospel of self, we become disconnected from God. Without realizing (or caring about) the consequences of our choices, we have turned our backs on God and His direction in going after what we want, we think, and we need. We have allowed a momentary need to override patience, overtake endurance, and overwhelm honor. We have made ourselves all-knowing and full of wisdom instead of allowing God to speak into our choices.
All because we sought to please ourselves instead of God.
All because we want now instead of waiting for God’s best.
All because we follow our feelings instead of listening to His Spirit.
Because every moment of every day there is a whisper within us reminding us that anything in God’s kingdom worth having is worth fighting for, waiting for, and working for.
But we tune it out. Because selfishness is easy. Judgment is easy. Gossip is easy. Anger is easy. Sex is easy.
And the things God calls us to take patience, endurance, and self-control. Godly love is hard. Godly forgiveness is hard. Godly temperance is hard. Godly long-suffering is hard. Godly purity is hard.
And God has me taking a look at my choices – a hard and honest look. Because I can be an expert writer of the gospel of self. I can fill pages about what I want, what I think, and what I know. But usually those pages don’t contain God at all – no grace, no love, no forgiveness, no selflessness. And these are God’s goals for me. Because God wants me to think outside myself and beyond my feelings to have impact, to have influence, and to have (good) intentions.
Will you join me and start rewriting your gospel of self?
Marie Fremin. 7/10/17