I wasn’t even sure what I was going to share with you about my journey while reading the book What Is the Gospel? At first I wanted to unload all of these cool pieces that were starting to come together for me. But I was insecure about how to articulate all of this. I was uncomfortable with my level of understanding. I just felt like I wasn’t sure if I would be saying the right things. But I do have something I want to share with you, and hope you can bear with me.
What is the gospel? To me this question is something I thought I knew. But now that I look back on times when I had had conversations with someone about my faith, I am cringing because I am not sure if what I shared was even halfway biblically sound. I honestly have never had the courage to share the gospel that much, but especially when I started to see that what I did know was next to nothing. And I use to avoid using all these amazing tools to equip me so that I could avoid having to share any knowledge and risk be judged based on how little I knew. I was prideful and had a fear wrapped in insecurity asking, “What if what I am saying is wrong?” or, “This person is so smart, I could never speak to them on that level.” These were the exact words I have shared with my husband on the matter many times in the last few years.
When you grow up learning something different and never seeking for yourself, you find that there is so much you never knew. In the introduction of the book What Is the Gospel? we read what some other folks thought about the gospel as well. I was astounded to see such a wide variety of views, and yet I feel like I found parts of what I thought in some of these statements. In some of the statements I didn’t feel like I was reading anything too horrible, and others I knew were not so right. Gilbert went on to say that hopefully by the end we would be able to decide which statements were “better or worse.” For some reason, my mind felt this pressure. Instead of seeking the Lord to secure my focus, I was looking to my flesh to be able to complete this task I had created in order to “know it all.”
In that time I was already putting a challenge on myself. I can best compare this feeling with a competitiveness mixed with prepping for a quiz. I wanted to do the best my flesh could do (even though I wasn’t racing against anyone), and I wanted to be the smartest (even though there was nothing or anyone to compare to). I wanted people to see some kind of growth in me that they hadn’t seen in my life before. It’s like I wanted them to know that I had read this book, studied God’s Word, and now all I needed to do was be able to discern the true gospel from the false.
My mind had wandered off so far! My mind went from book, to self, to how others see me. This was all before I could even make it through the introduction. I was already having seeds of pride and fear settling into my mind. In that moment, just in the introduction, I had to stop and ask the Lord to truly open my mind, eyes, and heart to what it is that He was wanting me to take from this. I asked Him to keep all distractions at bay. Because, I will admit, I had to read a few pages over again. But I needed to understand this biblical foundation so badly. Never had I sat by myself with a book other than the Bible to read about the gospel. I may have thought about cracking open a book like that a time or two, but never really found myself interested in “those kinds of books.” That’s the category I put them under in my mind.
Honestly, this was the very first one! Can I just say, it is so wonderful to feel corrected in my thinking now. I want to do what 1 Peter 3:15 says: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” I want to be able to boldly share about the “good news” without fear of man, and all for His glory when He has called me to do so. This is not a race or challenge, it is taking this day by day and truly being genuine in what it is that we are doing here. I don’t want to do this for a show, or for recognition. I just want to be filled with His Word and grace so that I be changed from the inside out.
All for His Glory