The One Question Everyone Needs To Answer Everyday

Like that terribly cheesy Toby Keith country song, sometimes I feel, “I’m not as good as I once was.”…spiritually speaking of course.

On a personal level, I feel less passionate, less bold, less “holy” than what I used to be as a freshmen in college. I hope that’s a sign of God’s grace. I’m encouraged by the testimony of older saints who confess a greater brokenness over sin as age advances. I’m encouraged by the testimony of the Apostle Paul who was the self-professed “least of all the apostles” early in ministry (1 Cor 15:9), then was the “least of all God’s people” in mid ministry (Eph 3:8), and finally claimed the “Chief of sinners” title as a broken old man writing to his spiritual son, Timothy (1 Tim 1:16).

It seems in the upside down paradoxical Kingdom of Heaven: The more one progresses in maturity, the more acutely aware of sin they become. Victory looks like a broken sinner, wholeness like a maimed saint (Matt 5:29-30). The greatest ones in the Kingdom will think the least of themselves.

This spurns two questions. The first is a simple one for most of my dear astute readers:

In one word what is the most important message UNbelievers need to hear?

I think we can agree what the apparent answer is: Gospel. (Gospel of JESUS to be specific, but that is three words)

The follow up question seems to lie under a veil of ambiguity for us.

In one word what is the most important message believers need to hear?

A diversity of answers may ensue here. Common ones may be discipleship, prayer, holiness, fellowship, evangelism, and missions. I say these are important, but cursory issues that flow out of one fundamental source.

Rather, the most important message believers need to hear is this: Gospel.

Believers desperately need to continue to saturate their hearts and minds in the shocking truth that God has crushed His own Son on behalf of sinners. The gospel of Jesus Christ is A. the message that sinful undeserving men and women had to be saved by the perfect work and person of Jesus Christ AND B. the message that those saved imperfect men and women are also kept by the perfect work and person of Jesus Christ. Where we began our Christian walk (the cross and resurrection), is where we are to continue it, and that’s where we will remain awestruck for all eternity (Rev 5).

If the cross of Christ and our unworthiness to deserve one ounce of God’s grace are not continually on the forefront of our minds we will fall into a perilous trap; the performance trap. This dangerous place is where all of our serving, discipling, worshipping, evangelizing and holy living merely become ways we perform our duty to God. And when we fail (which we inevitably will) to do those things rightly we believe we have failed to please God. But gospel freedom is found in this: We can’t please God. The Son has already pleased Father decisively and perfectly for us (Mark 1:11).

God’s  generous standing towards you has not changed one iota because of failure on your part to witness better, live holier, and love people more deeply (Hebrews 13:8). We are “in Christ” so God no longer sees an enemy but His own beloved Son when looking at us.

And to the confident one who believes they are innocent on most all accounts, the gospel reminds us even on our best days we deserve hell (Romans 3:11-18). The blood of Jesus has a unique way of lifting up the humbled and humbling those who are lifted up.

That’s why we should preach the gospel to ourselves everyday. Because that continues to be exceedingly good, er, great news for the rest of our lives.

The believer must keep believing the gospel for every day life until their dying day.  Simply put, the religious performance mentality says “I do the work, now I am accepted by God.” The gospel of Grace says, “I am accepted by God in Christ, now I will do work.” All pure expressions of sacrifice and service are driven by and centered around an understanding of the grace given to us in the gospel. As Paul put succinctly, “If you began in the Spirit, why do you continue in the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

This is probably just a character flaw of my own but I feel it most when singing certain types of worship songs. Are the song lyrics about “my love” “my devotion” “my sacrifice” and how much “I want” God? I’ll be honest: Many (most) times I don’t experience any of those glorified emotions. My love unto God is pitiful most days.

But thank God, there is another type of hymn/praise/worship song out there. Are the song lyrics about “God’s love” “God’s devotion” “God’s sacrifice” and how much “God wants” us as His bride? God’s love is manifestly excellent in all of its perfect beauty. My love for Him isn’t worth singing about, His love for me is and will be for all eternity (1 John 3:1).

Is our worship God centered or man centered? The answer to that may be more subtle than what we first think.

Let’s not pretend we can graduate from the gospel of Jesus and on to deeper things. The gospel is the deep thing. There is an ocean of grace here we will never plumb the depths of. And it is a ocean we need to be diligent to dive our hearts and minds into on a daily basis. As Jerry Bridges says,

“Your best days are never so good you are beyond the need of the gospel. Your worst days are never so bad you are beyond the reach of the gospel.”

Believer, let’s keep believing the gospel of grace and shun the performance mentality of our former lives. And please, for the sake of all things good, don’t make me quote another Toby Keith song.

Amen.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

55 thoughts on “The One Question Everyone Needs To Answer Everyday”

  1. Thanks for the reminder. The performance trap is a constant battle. The daily struggle is between leaning on our goodness, which amounts to nothing, rather than falling into the arms of the Grace that is Christ Jesus, who is eternal. Thanks Bro!

  2. If we listen God will lead us to the message we need to hear. Today God wants me to hear your reflection, it so much echoes what I have been feeling lately. Thank you for listening so as to deliver the message!

    Sandy Ozanich

  3. May we forever be enlightened and empowered by the revelatory ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is in our weaknesses and the acknowledgement of those weaknesses that God’s power is best manifested in us. There is something great to be said for the state of brokenness.

  4. I’ve always been perplexed by the good day/bad day Christian. I know I’m guilty of it, too, but when I consider that Jesus died once for all and that even our good deeds are like filthy rags I’m forced to ask two questions: at the end of the day is Christ still on the throne and am I growing in holiness? If the answer is no to either one than I need to submit myself to Christ. If the answer is yes then I need to submit myself to Christ. 🙂

    Great post.

  5. Love this: Simply put, the religious performance mentality says “I do the work, now I am accepted by God.” The gospel of Grace says, “I am accepted by God in Christ, now I will do work.”

    My son and I just had this discussion (and I even blogged about it last week) because, at 12yo, he questioned “works” and why Jesus participated in acts of religion. After searching the Word, he came up with the same conclusion you wrote above. (And so he wondered why people say God hates religion…which was the purpose of my blog post). 😉

    The closer I get to the Light, the more aware I am of even a speck of darkness lingering in my heart. And the heavier even that granule of sin seems. Praise God!

  6. I truly believe the one word ”believers” need to hear – and understand is:

    “Uhavbeanconned.” – to be duped by religion.

    I can’t profess to know the etymology of this word but it goes back as far as believers began believing.

    Once they accept this, true enlightenment will come quite quickly. Fear will disappear, guilt too, and the ridiculous notion of being born in sin will become meaningless: a huge weight will be lifted from the believer’s shoulders and they can wake up and smell the coffee.

    WHAT A MARVELOUS THOUGHT!

    1. Ark appreciate your input! I agree with half your statement. There is alot of fear, guilt, and duping in much of man made religion (even with Christian flavors) as we know it. Religion in many cases is the problem. Just look at what Jesus had to say to the most religious/Pharisees of His day.

      Most religion attempts to reach out to an unknown God (which is impossible) but biblical Christianity says God reached out to us with His Son and made Himself known.

      In Christ there is no fear (1 John 4:10), guilt (look up expiation), or duping (John 14:6). He lifts off the weight because he bore it on the cross, and now tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matt 11:29-30)

      WHAT A MARVELOUS THOUGHT! : ) Peace and grace brother!

      1. Unfortunately, however, for those who don;t subscribe to this view the “Fires of Hell’ await.
        Ah, yes, Christianity is such a loving relationship.
        I reiterate…

          1. I notice like every reborn you sidestep the Hell issue neatly with polemic. This all loving God, created Hell just for those unfortunates who might live exceptionally moral lives but refuse to acknowledge the belief that your man-god is the be all and end all of everything, And for them awaits eternal damnation.
            Well, according to your loving god, that is.
            There are so hypocritical as religious folk -even if they are in a relationship with their man-god.
            And you teach children this rot. And are proud of it, too, no doubt.
            For shame! Your moral compass is pointing due ‘Stupid’

              1. Again, the duck and dive. Refute the statement with an honest answer, rather than hide behind your man-god.
                If you believe in what you preach then at least have the decency to offer an explanation that will justify this aspect of your religion/relationship. How will you answer if one of your kids ask,”Will I go to hell, daddy if I don’t believe in Jesus?”

                And what can you say According to the tenets of your faith,only ‘Yes’.
                If one of your children becomes an atheist how will this effect your relationship?

    2. If one of your children became atheist because of the issue of Hell and how it related to a supposed all loving god how would you deal with this issue without compromising your reborn Christianity?
      In fact, I put it to you that it would be an impossibility. You would have to choose your god.

      1. I’d love them the exact same as I do now; My children aren’t Christians now for the record (their 1 and 3!) and that doesn’t effect my love for them one iota. That also doesn’t compromise my Christianity; one all consuming Christ-ethic is to love one’s neighbor, enemy and especially family (1 Tim 5:8) regardless of opposing belief systems.

          1. The Judge of the Earth will do right (Gen 18:25). No one is good, no one deserves God’s grace (Romans 3:11-18). This goes for you, me (especially) and my sons. So yes, unless they have repented and believed the only provision God has given (Christ) (Luke 13:3) they will go to a just hell.

            Of course that is not easy to swallow or fathom, but it does not make it any less true. That is the cost of committing eternal treason to an eternal King and giving the lifelong finger to His precious Son’s sacrifice.

            1. Well, at least you were honest with your answer.
              I sincerely hope they DO become atheist and escape the insincerity and hypocrisy of religion.
              For yourself, as with all reborns, you really should do some serious research into the history of your religion; especially the history and composition of the bible. I strongly recommend Eusebius to start. This will give you a pretty good foundation of what the church thought.
              And maybe, if you discover the history of the notion of Hell (which is NOT biblical I might add,you might well revise your thoughts on this matter.
              I wish your kids a long and happy life. May they grow to be their own men. Free from false influence & literary lies.

  7. Hi chief, the Holy Spirit must want to remind us of this truth: the need to abide (stay) in the revelation of the gospel. My last post was on that topic as well. I like what you said about the worship songs revolving around “our devotion, etc” instead of God’s towards us. For years I noticed this about worship in the church, but couldn’t really tell why it seemed dry and sometimes depressing!

    I would add that the difference between an unbeliever and a believer viewing the gospel is that they are on two different sides of the cross. My favorite book of the bible is Colossians, which gives an awesome death blow to legalism in ch. 2-3. After debunking legalism, paul begins chapter 3 by saying “Since you have been raised with Christ…” This is how i like to begin when addressing myself. It helps take me out of the self-conscious performance that I’ve struggled with.

    Anyway, may the grace be with you.

  8. Good afternoon Chief. I must say this piece is powerful from beginning to end. My favorite part, “And to the confident one who believes they are innocent on most all accounts, the gospel reminds us even on our best days we deserve hell” strikes me the most. Not because I’m innocent, but because I know that even when I’m being the best I can be, I still deserve hell.Awesome post Sir!

  9. Thank you for this post. I have been in a “fog” or “funk” lately. And I needed to hear it isn’t about me. It is about worshiping Him. From The Message I read: “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (John 1:2-4).

    I need to keep reading, praying and studying – and let God work on me. “and ask boldly, believing without a second thought.”

    Knowing the Gospel and what Oswald Chambers says: to know and accept the risen Christ. Then our eyes are opened and we see. “until the life of the risen Christ dominates you…. God cannot reveal anything to us if we have not His Spirit.”

    So – He is risen. All is grace. I am accepted and now I do the work.

    Blessings,
    Jan

  10. I have the same answer for both questions .. three simple words – God Loves You. There’s not enough love on this planet right now.

    Love & Peace
    Ama

  11. I recently read a book called “Humility” by Andrew Murray – touches on a lot of these idea. Very convicting. Holds lots of truth. Here are a couple favorite quotes:

    “…self has nothing good in it except as an empty vessel which God must fill.”

    “In trial and weakness and trouble, He seeks to bring us low, until we learn that His grace is all, and to take pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His strength made perfect in weakness, His presence filling and satisfying our emptiness, becomes the secret of a humility that need never fail.”

  12. love it, although i wasnt sure about the not pushing on to deeper things comment…is there not a development from milk to meat? The Gospel is the deep thing but maybe knowing the reality of it everyday is what propels us deeper? Love the line “songs about my love for Him arent’t worth singing about, songs about His love for me are” – and He’s worhthy of them everyday! 😀 God bless.

    1. Thanks Jon. Just being Christ and cross centered in all our preaching, serving, creating and worshiping. We’ll never plumb the depths of everything Christ did on the cross for a million eternities, so the only way deeper is to press into the gospel we first believed.

  13. Of late, my heart saddens at the state the church is heading. I often hear now from the pulpit community and missional service. This is good however, “Let’s not pretend we can graduate from the gospel of Jesus and on to deeper things. The gospel is the deep thing. There is an ocean of grace here we will never plumb the depths of. And it is a ocean we need to be diligent to dive our hearts and minds into on a daily basis.” We seem to be leaving the deep things behind . . .
    cyndi – lakeside, mt – http://advocateofhope.wordpress.com

  14. Sharing on facebook!!!… Awesome reminder of the importance of the Gospel in our lives… Not just on Easter… but everyday of our lives!!!… Everything that we do as a believer of Jesus Christ is based on the Gospel and there is nothing that we can do (or should do) without the Gospel…

    Thank you for this very timely and thought-provoking post…

    Blessings!!! 🙂

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