Monday, February 11, 2013

More than words

Charles Kraft wrote some 30 years ago that "God himself is the message [of the gospel], and we respond to a person."  He then argues that "if the message is life, only life is an adequate vehicle for its transmission."   Charles Kraft, Communication Theory for Christian Witness, (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press 1983), 59.

 I've been kind of chewing on this idea for the last week.  A lot of times I think we feel like the most important thing is to introduce people to the vast narrative of Scripture--to be able to tell the whole story in a nice little elevator-sized speech.  We feel a lot of pressure to say the right things at the right time or to have all the right words.

But God himself is the message of the gospel.  When we invite people into faith, we are inviting them into relationship with a living Being who happens to be the creator and sustainor of all life.   So he is the message.  Relationship with God is the theme.  And relationship with God is something that permeates the whole of life.  Therefore, the message is too big for words.  It's too big for explanation.  It's not simply an idea.  The message of the gospel actually requires a person's whole life to communicate and demonstrate and illustrate what it looks like.

I think this is a freeing idea.  It frees me up to genuinely seek relationship with God, day by day.  It frees me up to chase after God's heart and try to hear his voice and try to build that relationship the same way I would any other relationship in life.  And while I'm doing that, I am illustrating and demonstrating and communicating to everyone I come into contact with the message of the gospel.  My life is a picture of what transformation and surrender looks like.

That's not to say I don't explain with words.  I think that's an important part.  But it is only part of the gospel message.  My life is the rest of that message.

What is your life saying to others about who God is and what he invites us to?  What has he transformed and renewed in you that demonstrates or illustrates what the gospel is like?

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