On Sunday morning I let slip a phrase that sits at the very center of my understanding of who God is and what it means to be a Christian. Answering Dave’s questions about the role that worship played in my spiritual growth brought me back to what it felt like to really experience God’s grace for the first time. Those experiences changed my life dramatically. They took away the shallow story that used to live at the center of my life and replaced it with the gospel, and that change transformed me into a different person. That transformation continues to happen every time we gather together as the body of Christ, and it reminds me:
Something is at stake here.
There is a God, the creative and loving source of all, and God redeems us through Jesus Christ and interacts with us through the Holy Spirit. Our lives are not just improved by faith or bolstered by a relationship with God; it is only through answering the covenant call of the gospel that we become who we were made to be. We either live with our souls open to God’s sanctifying grace every day or we turn our backs against it. It’s real and true and important for you, or it isn’t. Following Jesus isn’t about securing a place in the afterlife; it’s about deciding if you ever want to come alive at all. Something is at stake here.
The last month focused us on what we call “Healthy Plate Discipleship,” a framework of understanding that helps us engage in the practices that open our hearts to God’s sanctifying grace. Learning, praying, giving, serving, worshipping, and playing aren’t there to just guide our church programming and participation. They are the means of grace, the ways in which we come into close contact with the God who transforms us. Choosing to live your life with these principles in mind isn’t about your church participation; it’s about your soul. It’s about your life. It’s about who you are and who God made you to be. What we do matters, the choices we make matter. We can abide in the good news of the gospel or we can settle for something much less. It’s up to us.
Something is at stake here. I hope you choose God, because God chooses you.