One of the reasons I proclaim so boldly the centrality of the Gospel is that this centrality is a truth and worldview that is spoken in scripture that gives me a compass for my understanding of other scriptural truths. Another way of saying this is that this centrality of the gospel world view of scripture allows me to see “true north” even in the midst of my struggles and sin. Practically speaking this has had a major impact on me and my wife when confronted by major difficulties.
As I look back I see a lot of people placed in my path (by God I assume) that have spoken to me as mentors. All the way back to Pastor Johnson, Steve P., Pastor Heining, my friend Bill, my time on a pastoral search committee, my time at Bridgewood Church, and most recently my time at Lifeprint church… as well as several other people where I was reminded this world is a battlefield. All of these people and situations have shaped and refined this worldview of mine …. or maybe better said my God-view.
I admittedly have also been shaped by a broken friendship where I observed some erroneous worldviews or ways of seeing God over multiple years. I realize now that I need to have just as strong a boundaries against erroneous views of God as I do erroneous living.
Keeping the gospel centric helps me maintain a proper compass (or god-view) and has resulted in several things in my life:
- It has resulted in putting down the “performance paradigm” in how I approach God and I strive now to live “heart to heart” with God
- It has resulted in assisting me in learning (and continuing to learn) the discipline of transparency in how I live and communicate with God, my wife, and other men. You would not believe some of the conversations I have had with my wife and in small groups of men. It comes from doing my best to put down any religious posturing or religious or worldly verneers. I now strive to live heart to heart with God, my wife, and other people.
- It has helped to me to face the pain of my childhood teen and pre-teen years and to face the pain my sin has caused to other people. IT has allowed me to feel the real of my pain and sin history.
- It has resulted in a spiritual, emotional, and physical intimacy with my wife
- It has resulted in joy and peace while learning to live in the “it is finished” of the cross
- It has caused me to want to take action on some topics I am passionate about
- It has given me the strength and vision to have better boundaries in relationships. Whether its on the internet or at work I keep better boundaries in relationships … but I also protect my spiritual boundaries and well being as I have learned that not everyone’s opinion is allowed in the inner circle. It allows me to hold my tongue when I am being bombarded by religious people that, in my opinion, have a poor compass or poor orientation to the Gospel and ultimately to not allow the self righteous attitude of the pharisees to creep into my thinkology. As it is said… “a little yeast works it way through the whole dough” so its best to not even engage the yeast of the pharisees.
- Maybe most importantly the centrality of the Gospel (sometimes called having a theology of the cross) drives a passionate, thought consuming vision for me in my approach to life, people, and my career
Those that have made decisions to come to grips with their sin and their pain in the past are the ones I trust in the inner circle. Those people that have learned to put down their religious or irreligious shields and denials they use to cope with life and are learning to stop avoiding the painful realities of the past are people that should be in leadership. By putting down our shields and facing our sin and our “pain” history people can learn to quit medicating themselves on worldly addictions or self righteous pharasaism.
By facing our pain and sin and a true reality of ourselves we learn to trust in the only true source of love in our lives … Jesus Christ. And from this love we can extend true love to others. By keeping the gospel message pf Christ central we can finally boldly confront our pain and sin and start learning to live heart to heart with God and other people. This ultimately, I believe, creates a joy, peace, and love that surpasses all understanding.