We love Jesus… so why are we still dealing with these issues? In this series, we address how the gospel frees us from the shame associated with our daily sins and struggles, and then helps us overcome them.
By Tamra Dalbey
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
Many of Paul’s contemporaries viewed his conversion as shameful. In their minds, he had made his alliance with a false messiah and put his confidence in a dead blasphemer from Galilee.
But we know the truth.
And because we know the truth— that Jesus’ grave is empty— the gospel is the power of God for us. It seems though that many who welcome the power of God for salvation, later fall short of experiencing “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19) in our daily lives. The power of the gospel was never meant to be something we move on or graduate from. We need to be retaught the gospel every day. Paul urged the believers in Rome later in the same letter, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
There is a story in Luke about two men traveling to the town of Emmaus. After their time with the resurrected Lord “They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’” (Luke 24:32)
These men were deeply distraught. They lost the King they had put their hope in. What had changed in them? And what is it that can ignite our hearts to burn again with fervor?
Really, there’s one thing…
It’s the “one thing” that Mary did in Luke 10:42; and the same “one thing” that David desired in Psalm 27:4 They spent time with Jesus. Time in His presence, listening to Him, talking with Him. Time in the Word, learning straight from the Author all about His redemption story.
We cannot manufacture or conjure up this passion on our own. In reality, it’s less of a burning for the Lord, and more of a burning in the Lord, because we only get there through His Spirit. It naturally occurs as we respond to what He’s done… seeing how He wasn’t ashamed to respond to the call of the Father— the cross. How with each step He took up to Golgotha He burned. Burned with love and with passion for us— to put an end to our separation from Him.
I want to emulate that. To burn as He burns.
The fuel that sustains this fire flows from a life of surrender and intimacy. We can actually stay in this place. It doesn’t have to be a fleeting moment here and there. Life’s distractions don’t stand a chance at quenching our passion when He is our one thing.
Jesus shares the importance of burning brightly in His sermon on the mount:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
So, we get the privilege of walking like this. Living torches, burning beyond anything we are naturally capable of. For the sake of those stumbling around in the dark, who aren’t yet in the light. Because He desires to raise death to life in people.
And this isn’t for tomorrow, when we’re more spiritually mature. That, by the way, is one of the enemy’s favorite cards to play. Our God is worthy now. Give Him today while you have it in your power to do so!
I am not ashamed of the gospel. I am not ashamed to burn for the One who burned for me.
We invite you, Father, to fan into flame your Spirit in us. Let nothing tamp down or hinder our love for You. Light us up as lamps that others might see and come into Your marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9)