“Christian practice in matters of spiritual formation goes badly astray when it attempts to construct or organize ways of spirituality apart from the ordinariness of life. And there is nothing more ordinary than a meal. Abstract principles — the mainstay of so much of what is provided for us in contemporary church culture — do not originate in the biblical revelation…Breakfast and supper. Fish and bread. Their home in Emmaus and the beach in Galilee. These provide the conditions and materials for formation-by-resurrection.” – Eugene Peterson, Living the Resurrection (72)
“Just as the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, as carbon is converted into diamond, as the grain of wheat upon dying in the ground produces other grains of wheat, as all of nature revives in the spring and dresses up in celebrative clothing, as the believing community is formed out of Adam’s fallen race, as the resurrection body is raised from the body that is dead and buried in the earth, so too, by the re-creating power of Christ, the new heaven and new earth will one day emerge from the fire-purged elements of this world, radiant in enduring glory and forever set free from the ‘bondage to decay’. More glorious than this beautiful earth, more glorious than the earthly Jerusalem, more glorious even than paradise will be the glory of the new Jerusalem, whose architect and builder is God himself.” – Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol 4, 720.
Sometimes you just come across a great thought, or quote, and you realize why you’ve been reading that book for as long as you have. We’re all that way. We’re not affected by books as much as we are statements, or as John Piper might say, sentences.
Today, as I was reading a few verses for my personal devotional life and worship, I came across this note in the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible while reading Ephesians 6:1-4. It had that effect of both encouraging and challenging me to live out the implications of the Gospel in my mundane, everyday life. Here it is:
“There is no area of life too big or too mundane that the person and work of Christ cannot sanctify and empower it. The Christian gospel is not an ethereal formula unrelated to daily living. The gospel informs and transforms all of life.” – ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, on Ephesians 6:1-9
Friends, today, how will you let the gospel inform your experiences?
When you hit your highs of landing that deal, signing that contract, moving the ball down the court that one next step, seeing your kids treat each other with love and compassion?
Or when you hit your lows, and that client cancels their subscription, the contract goes back for review, you take two steps back in your business, your dryer decides to quit and you find yourself playing sibling referee in the never ending cage-fighting grudge match that is your kids’ interaction with each other?
Will you look to yourself and say, “I did this,” – for good and for bad, and take all the praise or the blame, whatever the case may be?
Will you look at your surrounding and say, “How can this be, why is this happening to me?” – for good or for bad, and resign yourself to living in a life without purpose, meaning or significance, just a mere collision of unintentional accidents?
Or will you look at who Jesus is and what He’s done – the perfect Son of God, who gave up perfection in the happy land of the Trinity to come seek, find and redeem you and me both by living the life we should have lived (but didn’t), and die the death we should have died (but now, we don’t have to!)?
Will you choose to look to Him who is orchestrating all events, circumstances and our very lives to the glorious crescendo of “all things new”? (cf. Revelation 21:5)
Which will it be?
Because only one is truly capable of transforming not just your perspective, but the way you live your life, deal with criticism, setbacks and negative circumstances, as well as praise, honor and forward momentum.
When your perspective is informed by the Gospel, you are able to take the pressure off of your performance (but not your responsibility to live your life in God-honoring, Christ-exalting, Spirit-enabled ways), and instead, focus on the One who comes to redeem and renew all things to Himself.
A gospel-centered way of looking at life is more informed by what Jesus has done and is doing than what I could have or should have done!