Redefine the gospel—that’s the best way I know how to describe what God has done in my life over the past ten years. While I’m not sure I can explain what I thought it was before, I do know that today I see the gospel differently.
The goals for my life are no longer to be healthy, wealthy and wise. They are not for people to like me, accept me, or support me. In short, the goal posts have moved. Things I once thought important are not important to me now.
It began in 2005 when God led me to attend a Christian writer’s conference. I came home from that conference with this sobering revelation: I’m not sure I even know what the gospel is; but I do know that I don’t have much of anything to write about.
Looking back, my evaluation of myself was right on. As a result of that conference, I discovered the writings of Philip Yancey, Andrew Murray, Henri Nouwen, Amy Carmichael, and many others. After ten years of delving deep into those writings, my mindset about the gospel has clearly changed, and so have my goals.
A few days ago I decided to write down the things that are important to me now—my new goals you might say. Please don’t misunderstand—I am not listing things I have attained. In fact, I may never attain them; but they are the things I press toward.1
- To please my Heavenly Father in every word, thought, and action.
- To obey the Holy Spirit in all things, every time He speaks to me.
- To be humble before God and others, choosing the lowest position.
- To bring glory to God and God alone.
- To love His church, striving to bring unity in the Body of Christ.
- To love the unlovable so they will know and feel the love of God.
- To be willing for God to use me whenever and however He chooses.
- To give more than I have ever given, withholding nothing from my Lord.
- To give the Holy Spirit full possession of whole being—my house as His house.
- To be aware of His presence inside me and commune with Him continuously.
- To guard my heart so there is never a bitter drop of anything to spill out.2
- To seek for every ounce of pride in my heart to be eradicated.
- To hide His Word in my heart, committing it to memory.
- To hide my life so completely in Christ that others see Him, not me.
- To make every day a day with Jesus. (A day without Jesus is a day wasted.)
- To be aware of His opinions on life, politics, and people rather than my own.
- To have ears that hear and eyes that see from God’s perspective.
- To be courageous enough to share the Good News with everyone I meet.
- To be bold enough to speak truth whenever truth is challenged.
- To keep the main thing, the main thing. (Eternity)
- To accept what He chooses to give, rather than what I want to receive.
- To remember that my sin caused Jesus to suffer and die. (Own my part in His death)
- To cherish the dust at the foot of the cross.3 (a most holy place)
- To be determined to live for Him and to die for Him.
This was a great exercise. I recommend that you do it too, and see what your list looks like. You might be surprised.
Today, I believe I am much closer to knowing the true gospel. I am also much closer to having something to write about. ~ Janie Kellogg
Key Quote: “St. Paul counted the loss of all things as nothing that he might know Him who he already knew; and the soul, suddenly illuminated by some fresh outshining of the knowledge of the love of God shown forth on Calvary, does not stop to measure how much or how little it knew of that love before. Penetrated, melted, broken before that vision of love, it feels that indeed all it ever knew was nothing, less than nothing.”4 ~ Amy Carmichael
1Philippians 3:14; 2Amy Carmichael, If, CLC Publications, Fort Washington, PA, Pg. 35; 3Ibid, Pg. 53; 4Ibid, forward.