About two years ago, God used a simple question to revolutionize how I desired to live: “Do you live in such a way that demands a Gospel explanation?” – Jeff Vanderstelt.
This question led me to reflect on my life up until that point. Did my words or actions demand a Jesus explanation? In other words, when people looked at my life, did it look like the rest of the world, or did my life reflect the radical love and joy that is found in Jesus?
This is an excellent question for all of us to ponder: Does the way I live demand a Gospel explanation? When people look at our life, do they see a life that conformed to the world’s ways or a life transformed through faith and obedience to Jesus?
I often ask myself – “What is the primary motivation for my life? Am I motivated by happiness, comfort, safety, material possessions or am I compelled by the command of my Lord?”
Think about this: Jesus lived a life that demanded an explanation. He claimed to be God! That’s a statement that demands some kind of explanation. His life did not make sense to this world and neither should ours. His life, death, and resurrection demands an explanation. Either he was who he said he was, or it was all a lie.
So what does all of this mean for us? In order to know how to live, we must learn from Jesus.
Jesus, Our Perfect Example.
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8.
If we endeavor to live our lives in such a way as to demand a gospel explanation, the first place to start is to look to Jesus. He sets the pace for us.
From the very beginning, he came to earth understanding that His mission was all about obedience to His father. He knew that he was going to be arrested, tortured, and persecuted (Matthew 26:56) to fulfill the scriptures. Because sin had entered the world, God sent His son so that we could live in the freedom of His grace. He came caring the burden of humanity’s sin to the cross so that all people have the ability to know the freedom found in Christ. He came with no purpose of His own; rather, He came to serve us that we could have life (Mark 10:45).
His entire life was lived to bring glory to his father and to provide freedom for all of humanity. Jesus, fully human and fully God, lived a perfect life not on His on will, but on the will of His Father (John 6:38) He is the perfect example for us. Not only did Jesus claim to have all authority (Matthew 28:18), his life revealed this to be true. His life and ministry was spent in submission to the Father ultimately so that all humanity could have life through his death and resurrection.
Just as Jesus did, we are called to reorient our lives around God our Father. We are to act and live in the same way as His example for us.
Servants of Jesus: A Gospel-Sent People
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – John 20:21-22
Jesus did not only send his disciples. Jesus did not only send pastors, church leaders, deacons, the more spiritual people, or missionaries. Jesus sent every person regardless of race, color, gender, or economic status. Not only has He sent us, but He has sent us with the Holy Spirit to guide us into all of life. We are a people sent with the good news of the Gospel to proclaim Him all over the world.
Because Jesus is our perfect example of a servant, we serve in the same way. We don’t serve others to get recognition, but we serve to make much of Jesus in our lives. We don’t need the approval of man, because God has already approved us as his righteous children. Therefore, we serve as people who are free.
1 Peter 2:16 tells us, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”
Our motivation comes from what we have received in Jesus. We can love unconditionally because we have been loved much. So how do we apply this to our lives?
How do we live such a way that demands a Gospel explanation? In other words, how can we live that would lead people to wonder what is different about our lives?
I want to give 3 practical ways that will lead us to live out our identity as dearly loved children who live in the joy and freedom of Christ.
1. Head: Remind yourself of the incredible gift of God’s grace that you have received every day. Preach it to yourself, and meditate on the truth of the Gospel early in the morning and before you go to sleep. Let it be in your mind all day.
2. Heart: Pray and ask God to let these truths you are meditating on sink into your heart. Jesus said to ask Him what we need in His name and He will give it. Give thanks to Jesus daily for the cross and the freedom we have in His grace. Think about your time before Christ and how He has radically changed your desires and have given you a hope that will never fail.
3. Hands: The scripture teaches that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. As we begin to meditate the truths of the Gospel, the truths will sink into our heart and overflow into action. Peter and John said, “For we cannot stop speaking about all we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), referring to the power of the Gospel to transform lives. They were so passionate about Jesus that they couldn’t stop talking about it.
It is impossible to live a life the demands a Gospel explanation without the Spirit at work in our lives. As we strive to live in obedience to Jesus, may we never stop meditating on the truth of the Gospel and praying for these truths to continually transform our hearts to action.
Daniel Mcdonald graduated from Liberty University with a B.S. in Communication (2011) and a Master’s of Divinity in Evangelism and Church Planting (2014). He is serving as the Director of Communication for GEM, while his wife, Kristen, serves as the 4th-grade teacher. Above all, they desire to make disciples by making Jesus known in Puerto and around the world.