What does it look like to live a gospel centered life?
Here we millennials are, in this world full of eye catching advertisements, adventure packed Netflix shows, vibrant Instagram accounts, and countless forms of new technology.
We thrive off entertainment. Sometimes we live our lives for it. Have you ever found yourself wanting to leave an event to go binge watch the rest of the season of your favorite show? Or what about scrolling through Instagram when you are worried about something actually going on in your life?
We are constantly preoccupied with something. Anytime we have to sit in a waiting room, or when we have to stop at a stop light for a few seconds, our minds are constantly captured by social media. Not to mention our social lives, our jobs, our school work, and our families.
Yeah, we are pretty distracted.
At the same time, Hebrews 12:1-2 declares, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We are called to live gospel-centered lives.
Our struggles, our preoccupations, should fall under our true gaze: Jesus Christ and how he lived his life. How he was a sacrifice on our behalf. How he loved. How he was a servant leader. How he had one goal: to bring God glory in all that he did.
He died to bring us true life. He died so that we could have full access to him- uninhibited, unbridled, and even in our complete brokenness.
Picture yourself as an Olympic runner, getting ready to run the mile. You’ve got your Adidas sports bra on and your tennis shoes made especially for this day. You look pretty fit for the job, but you also have your cellphone in your hand, your friend’s problems in a huge backpack on your back, and all the tears you’ve cried worrying about what other people think about you in a huge suitcase you’re dragging around, and whatever else comes to your mind- that issue that dominates your thoughts and the way you live your life.
You’ll get to that finish line eventually, but it isn’t going to be the effortless looking run of an Olympian. It’s going to be an unfocused run full of stumbling, veering off the path, and unnecessary effort.
This is what the writer of Hebrews is talking about when he says, “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.” We are going to get caught up in sin because we are human. Sometimes, we are going to make the mistake of carrying the weight of the distractions and problems we are facing, but we’ve got to cast those aside and focus. Our faces should mirror all the determination and focus of an Olympian, only we are fixed on Jesus. The same thing that Jesus is fixed on, we should be fixed on: bringing the Lord glory in all we do.
Instead of being distracted, we can use what we are passionate about to show others a glimpse of the source of our hope and peace. We can demonstrate the gospel to other people in our every day lives and the way we workout, the way we study, the way we do our jobs, even the way we watch Netflix.
We have an end goal that gives us an insane amount of perseverance and strength to dig into the track and make it all the way to the end without wasting time. Through our sense of purpose, people will want to know what we are looking at that helps us press on to the finish. It will be tragic if we live our lives dragging around unnecessary baggage, and because of that the lost are not able to tell we have an end goal at all. All because our off-focus run makes us look pretty lost as well.
Jesus knew “the joy that was set before him,” and this helped him continue on through extreme trial. May we fix our eyes on Jesus and the day we will be with the Father in heaven and all will whole and right and perfect again. This life will get painful, it’ll get seemingly unbearable at times, but let’s show the world that we are not going to quit because we have an incredible amount of hope set before us.
words by Savannah Cooper and photo by Leah Van Otterloo