After the last several weeks, students at CROSSROADS have now stepped through the entire Gospel. So what now? How does the Gospel live out in our daily lives?
Is God In Every Facet of Life?
Students were challenged to evaluate the following areas of their life and determine which areas Jesus does and does not play a role. The entire room doesn’t get silent often, but it did when asked this question:
- Family Tragedies
- Fights with Friends
- Playing Sports or Participating in Clubs
- Hanging Out at Home
- BF/GF Relationships
- School and Work Decision
- Money and “Things”
The truth is that we often short-change Christ in our lives. We don’t give Him the opportunity to work in all areas of life and by doing that we keep Jesus from using us how He intends. By letting God work in all areas of life, He becomes truly exalted as the center of our lives.
Jesus is a Unifier
Paul’s ministry is a reminder of how God is exalted in all we do. In Ephesians, Paul talks about our unification as a family of believers.
In union with him, through the shedding of his blood, we are set free — our sins are forgiven; this accords with the wealth of the grace he has lavished on us. In all his wisdom and insight he has made known to us his secret plan, which by his own will he designed beforehand in connection with the Messiah and will put into effect when the time is ripe — his plan to place everything in heaven and on earth under the Messiah’s headship. (Ephesians 1:7-10)
Paul speaks about three different types of unification: through redemption, through forgiveness, and through experience.
Redemption is the action of trading one thing with assumed worth or value for something else of equivalent worth. This speaks to Jesus’ sacrifice and His redemption, His trade, of our eternal lives for the death of God’s son. By God assuming the form of Jesus and dying a physical death, which is the penalty for sin, He paid the price for our sin so that when we die, we wouldn’t die forever but only die physically; to graduate to a more exalted form with Christ in heaven forever.
Forgiveness speaks less to the trading of Jesus’ life for our own and more to God’s decision to even engage in a process of pursuing redemption. Think of redemption as the result of God’s forgiveness. If we accept God’s forgiveness, we receive the benefits of redemption.
Our experiences with grace, that is redemption through God’s forgiveness, the entire church shares a common experience. It is this awesome power of this forgiveness which drives us to share the Gospel with others; to share that Jesus Christ is alive and He offers life to all.
Strength Through Relationship
Sometimes we hesitate to let God into every area of our lives because we fear we won’t be strong enough or bold enough to speak up for God when the time comes in something like sports or relationships. It’s a scary prospect for any Christian knowing that you may be asked to do something that your peers or society says is alright but you know is wrong. Fortunately, God strengthens us when He is exalted in every part of our lives.
I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which he has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance he has promised his people, and how surpassingly great is his power working in us who trust him. It works with the same mighty strength he used when he worked in the Messiah to raise him from the dead and seat him at his right hand in heaven, far above every ruler, authority, power, dominion or any other name that can be named either in the ‘olam hazeh (present) or in the ‘olam haba (future). (Ephesians 1:18-21)
It is important for us to remember that God is the source of ultimate strength, ultimate power, and ultimate authority. Attending church, singing songs, and going on service trips is important, but without a focus on the relationship we have in Christ, our power is lacking and we are more likely to abandon our faith when times get tough. It could be argued that someone might be doing themselves more good by not going on that mission trip if it means participating in another, “lesser” activity that will result in a much firmer relationship with God.
At the end of the day, Christ is exalted through regaining His relationship with us because that was the purpose of the sacrifice on the cross and the reason for the resurrection. If we participate in every activity that could be expected of a “Christian” but do not have a rock-solid relationship with Christ, then we are missing the real reason why Christ came to earth to die for our sins.