What the gospel gives us

If you ask Christians what their faith is about, what kind of answers do you get? How many answers look like this: it’s how to get saved, or how to experience God working in your life, or how to change the world? In other words, how many don’t mention Jesus Christ? 

You might suppose it’s obvious that Christian faith is about Christ. But I think if you asked, you’d find it isn’t so obvious to most people. That’s why I think trying to be Christian makes people anxious.

If our faith is fundamentally about Christ, then we can be confident that all shall be well, because he does all things well. But if our attention is elsewhere, then there’s a lot to worry about. You can worry about whether you’re really letting God work in your life, or whether you’re really saved, or whether you care enough

about the poor of the world—as if worrying about it will actually improve matters.

I wrote my book, “Good News for Anxious Christians,” because I think it would do us a lot of good to get our attention back on Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Beloved, who is good news for the poor and the anxious and even the dead, because he is stronger than death and everything else we are anxious about.

The Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is the story about who he is and what he does, including what he suffers for us and for our salvation. To tell that story gives us nothing to be anxious about, but only cause for joy and hope. Indeed, to tell that story and to preach the promise of God that it contains is to give us nothing less than Jesus Christ himself.

When we forget that our faith is about Christ, we succumb to anxiety, because then our attention is inevitably turned toward ourselves. We look at our

lives to see if God is really at work, we get burned out trying to bring justice to the world (as if it were ultimately about our success in bringing justice to the world), or we worry about whether we’re really Christians at all, because sometimes we seem to have so little to show for it.

Whereas if we remember that our faith is about Jesus Christ (and we do need to keep remembering, to keep hearing the good news), then we will have strength to hope and even to love, to bear with the heartaches and exhaustion and mortifications of real love, which can be dreadfully hard work.

Our God is kind and has a good word to give us, in which he bestows on us nothing less than his own beloved Son, so that we may really do the work of love in the world. We will find ourselves anxious and exhausted if we try to do the work without continually turning back to receive the gift God has to give us.  

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