Gospel fluency. This isn't my concept but it is something we need to talk about more. I first ran across this phrase as a title of a book written by Jeff Vanderstelt. Honestly, I’ve had so many other books that have been on my priority list to read that I haven’t picked this one up yet. I’ve read excerpts, seen outlines, listened to author interviews, and although I haven’t read this book the concept isn’t lost on me. As a matter of fact it is one that is nagging me and tugging at my soul. I can’t escape it.
So, what is gospel fluency? Well, what does it mean to be fluent in any language? My family has been on a journey the last several years. The journey has led us to Haiti and back multiple times. Through this time I have made my best attempts at becoming fluent in Haitian Creole. I still fail at fluency but my creole is functional. Many Haitians smile at my feeble attempts to converse with my ill-pronounced r’s and n’s which, and I mean no offense when I say this because it is a beautiful language, feels like I need to speak with a mouth full of rocks. However, in order to communicate the message clearly I must attempt. I must immerse myself in moments that force my brain to process the truths of communication in a context that leaves me completely dependent on my feeble understanding of the language. If not, then I am completely irrelevant to the Creole speaking people no matter what it is I know. If I can’t communicate the truth that is in me for others than that truth has no value.
The same is true with the gospel. Many of us have been changed by the gospel. We know what it has done for us and the hope it has brought our life knowing we have a future home with Jesus. However, what difference does it make to your teenage son when he views explicit images online? What difference does it make to your daughter when she is faced with body image issues? What difference does it make for anxiety and depression? What difference does it make to you when you face them too? Yes we’ve been saved for the future but what do we do until then?
Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)
Jesus promises us the life he wants (present tense) for us is a full life. As a matter of fact he states that’s part of why he has come! So, what are we missing to have a full life? Embracing every aspect of the gospel. Currently we are reading a book titled “Counsel From The Cross” that asks the questions: What does Jesus’ life mean to you? What does his death mean to you? What about his resurrection? Or his ascension?
To me this is part of my journey to gospel fluency. Jesus’ life shows me how to live with love and confidence in the Father to provide as I obey his every command. His death covers my sin so that I may not wander through life entrapped by guilt causing me never to grow and try again. His resurrection assures me that He has the power to life and transfers that new life to me so that I no longer have to be a slave to sin and I can put off my old self and become a dear child of God. His ascension declares his Lordship over my life and his eternal living presence standing before God the Father on my behalf. In all things his love overwhelms me to the point of confusion but warms me in its presence and keeps me longing for more.
When we truly understand the gospel and are immersed in it’s truths it translates into every aspect of our life. With think in gospel, we speak in gospel, we react in gospel, and we are truly transformed into the living representation of the gospel for the lives of others. Can His life instruct us on how we are to see truth and live? Can his resurrection change our identity so much that we need not worry about what others think of us? Can His love satisfy our desire so that we no longer search to be filled? Does His ascension bring you peace knowing He is constantly interceding on our behalf before the father? How does the gospel translate for you? How does Jesus affect your life now?