I've recently been reading "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. I must tell you this is an extremly powerful, very convicting, eye opening book. Not really knowing what to expect as I flipped open Stearns book, I was literally brought to my knees as I read the words he penned on the first two pages. Today, I would like to share those words with you. As you read the following excerpt I would encourage you to take an introspective look into your heart as you ask yourself this question, "Is the inward transforming work of the Holy Spirit brought about by the death, burial, and ressurection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, making itself known in the way I publically live my life?"
"What does God expect of us? That's what this book is about. It's a simple question, really. But is the answer so simple? What is the Christian faith about? Going to church every Sunday, saying grace before meals, and avoiding the most serious sin- or does God expect more?
I am a Christian- perhaps you are too. But what does that mean exactly? To even be Christians, we must first believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That in itself is no small idea. If it is true, it changes everything, because if Christ is God, then all that He said and did is deeply significant to how we live our lives. So we believe. But God expects more.
And so the question, "What does God expect of me?" is a very profound one-not just for me, but for everyone who claims to follow Christ. Jesus had a lot to say about it. Yes, He did give us deep insights into the character of God and our relationship with Him as well, but He also spoke at length about God's expectations, our values, and how we are to live in the world. So how are we to live? What kind of relationship are we to have with a holy God? What is God asking for, really, from you and me? Much more than church attendance. More than prayer too. More than belief, and even more than self-denial. God asks us for everything. He requires a total life commitment from those who would be His followers. In fact, Christ calls us to be His partners in changing our world, just as He called the Twelve to change their world two thousand years ago."
Stearns goes on to say, "being a Christian, or follower of Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God; it also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world. If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith- and mine- has a hole in it. Embracing the gospel, or good news, proclaimed by Jesus is so much more than a private transaction between God and us. The gospel itself was born of God's vision of a changed people, challenging and transforming the prevailing values and practices of our world."
Is your personal faith in Christ having a positive outward impact on the world, or does it have a hole in it?
"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead."
James 2:17, NKJV
Excerpts taken from Richard Stearns book, "The Hole in our Gospel", pages 1 & 2. Thomas Nelson Publishing Company