The Gospel is both our foundation and motivation.
Sometimes when I hear a sermon, I think —
“How could I ever live up to this? Why would I even want to do this? What am I doing this for?”
I try to catch up. It feels good on good days, when I’m a nice guy and praying hard and staying clean. But on bad days: my quota comes up short. I’m horrified at my utter lack of conviction. I come up with rules to follow rules, sharpen my prayer-technique, throw lighter-fluid on my computer, buy a wardrobe for a homeless guy.
It doesn’t work. None of this brings me any intimacy with God. It only selfishly points at myself, and I get self-righteous or scared or a sloppy mix of both.
But then — the Gospel is preached. I’m reminded that Jesus died for all the ways I’ve failed, and his resurrection empowers me for a way forward. I’m reminded that I was never meant to live up to anything, but I’ve received the Spirit that breathes His life through me.
So I know how. By his grace.
I know why. Because of grace.
I know what for. For Him.
The Gospel gives me a reason. It compels me from moral duty to a higher beauty. It moves theology from theory to adventure. It brings me from death to life, and unfolds a life beyond.
Without Christ at the center of our faith, we are only following orders. We are mimicking church culture. We are victims of self-righteousness and fear.
But with Christ: We are engaged in a furious eternal romance where Jesus has wooed us, beckoned us, called us, cleaned us, changed us, and brings us all the way home. It’s that moment when you met someone and you’re irreversibly intertwined with them for the rest of your life, except this person is God and He will explode into your heart with the force of a falling galaxy.
He is how, he is what, he is why. It is not easy: but there is no other journey so joyful as traveling with him. It is the intimacy I always wanted: to be known, to be loved, to love freely in return.