As the year winds down, the days grow shorter, and darkness and drowsiness are settling in for a season, will you ponder with me the light of the Gospel?
“In which you stand…hold fast…” Do you stand in, and hold fast to, the gospel? Do you “know” that your labor is not in vain? What is your labor? Is Paul implying that all Christians have a purpose in God’s kingdom, even here and now? A purpose to fulfill, to walk in, to do? Something to abound in?
Yes beloved! In Christ, our lives are lifted out of mere survival and “try to make sense of things” mode, into purpose. Not just any purpose, but eternal, lasting, meaningful purpose.
Yet this Kingdom purpose, for most of us, will be lived out in what feels like a “normal” life. An ordinary life, somewhat less exciting than we’d imagined when we once thought about “when I grow up…” We are called to a life of faithfulness.
Living as stewards of His; in this place that is not quite our true home, yet we are told to live here and be a blessing, to live to the praise of His glory. We carry out our quotidian duties knowing it is not in vain; we love our neighbors, use our spiritual gifts in the local body, and follow Jesus in all that we do, knowing it is not in vain.
All is vanity unless we follow Him, abide in Him, abounding in His work.
Therefore, we must be immersed in, mindful of, and reminding one another of, the gospel we received, God’s Word. In this slower, darker, drowsier season, will you abide in His word? Meditate on, pray through, delight in, His word? Believing what He has revealed about Himself, and what He says of you?
The Gospel of God, please remember, is not reducible to “three points.” The true Gospel cannot be fit into a twitter sized sound byte, or even into a small hand held tract. To immerse yourself in the Gospel is to abide in His words without reducing them, trimming them down, or turning them into an acronym or outline.
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel…
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles in behalf of His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;Romans 1
The Gospel is not merely the New Testament; for Christ came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms. As you remind yourself of the good news, think about Jesus explaining how all of that pointed to Himself. Jesus came and fulfilled promises; what promises? Promises made to whom? Think about Hebrews explaining all the shadows that readied hearts for the reality. Think about the story of redemption that began long before creation; and of how God created with no plan B in mind.
Stand in this; hold fast to this, all of this. Be steadfast, immovable; not listening to those who announce that parts of the Bible are no longer relevant, not listening to those who have had their faith shipwrecked and want to bring you along into that stormy sea, not listening to those who seek to redefine “faith” or “revelation” or to make Christianity align with current political and cultural preferences. Say to Jesus “You have words of eternal life, where else would I go?”
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but if you are looking for one–this is it, that you would hold fast to the Word, being steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord! Not on your own, not in your flesh. In Christ. In union with Christ. In the love of God, and in the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash