Here is a great devotional I got from My Utmost. It’s interesting how the Lord answers the questions we have on our minds. In my thoughts below, you’ll see how this spoke directly to me. It was convicting, encouraging, comforting, and inspiring. I hope you enjoy as I did. My thoughts in italics.
“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. — 1 Corinthians 1:17“
Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel; but remember what Paul means by “the gospel” viz., the reality of Redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are apt to make sanctification the end-all of our preaching. Paul alludes to personal experience by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter.
The gospel of Christ is the good news about Him. It is about upholding Christ’s power in our lives and showcasing the good that comes from being His followers. We must learn to take our eyes off ourselves.
Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We are nowhere commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification; we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (John 12:32). It is a travesty to say that Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ travailed in Redemption to redeem the whole world, and place it unimpaired and rehabilitated before the throne of God. The fact that Redemption can be experienced by us is an illustration of the power of the reality of Redemption, but that is not the end of Redemption.
Our salvation is only possible because of the power of Jesus. When we begin to understand the message of grace, our lives are changed radically. Grace makes us understand that we love God because He first loved us. It takes away the pressure to be perfect and enables us to understand that love compels. We serve God because we are compelled by His love, and not because we have control over ourselves by our own might.
If God were human, how sick to the heart and weary He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation, for our sanctification. We tax His energies from morning till night for things for ourselves — something for me to be delivered from! When we touch the bedrock of the reality of the Gospel of God, we shall never bother God any further with little personal plaints.
All of our life experiences come in order to glorify Christ. We must decrease that He may increase. The gaze on our own lives and circumstances must especially decrease. Just as the bronze serpent brought healing to the Israelites in the wilderness, the resurrected Christ brings healing, not only to our physical, but also to our spiritual bodies. And just as only those who cast their gazes on the bronze serpent were healed, so too, only those who cast their gaze on Jesus will be healed. And we are healed to tell others about the healing power of Jesus.