Another motivator to live righteously is our desire to communicate the gospel message. As we have all heard many times, our actions can be just as powerful as our words in sharing the truth of the gospel. So we want our actions to reflect the proper message; to reflect what God has done in Christ to rescue us.
Our verbal presentation of the gospel is soaked in the supernatural, as it should be. From the miracles of Jesus to His resurrection from the dead to His identity as the Son of God, we emphasize the supernatural over and over. But in our living-the-Christian-life communication of the gospel, we somehow like to leave the supernatural out. We advertise the Christian life as a path of working hard to stay on the straight and narrow, seeking to attain certain spiritual qualities and fighting temptation by determination alone. We do need to be diligent in our walk, but the picture we paint is like that of us paddling a canoe around a stagnant pond, trying to make something exciting happen by our own power.
The supernatural Christian life advertised in the New Testament is not that at all. It is more like guiding a canoe downstream through a class four rapids where the rushing water of God’s indwelling Spirit provides the power and we steer our way along the exhilarating waves. Living in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit inside is an exciting way to live. And in communicating the gospel through our lives, we need to somehow capture and display the excitement of the supernatural side of living the Christian life.
Remember that Progressive Insurance ad that goes something like this?Flo: Hi, may I help you? Customer: Yes, I hear Progressive has lots of discounts on car insurance? Can I get in on that? Flo: Are you a safe driver? Customer: Yes. Flo: Discount!…Do you own a home? Customer: Yes! Flo: Discount!!…Are you going to buy online? Customer: Yes!! Flo: Discount!!!…Isn’t getting discounts great? Customer: Yes!!! Flo: There’s no discount for agreeing with me. Customer: Yea, I got carried away. Flo: “Happens to me all the time!”
This is a picture of how the supernatural Christian life should effect those around us. They should see us in action and be asking, “How can I get in on this?” But when we leave the supernatural out of our day-to-day activities and actions, are we presenting anything more than a do-your-best mentality? Are we offering a life with supernatural power to walk in righteousness and experience all that righteous living brings to our relationships, our actions, and our innermost thoughts?
The challenge for us is two-fold. First, are we experiencing the supernatural Christian life as we should? The nuts and bolts of the supernatural aspect of the normal Christian life is a large part of what this blog is all about and I will leave this topic for your investigation. Secondly, if the supernatural Christian life is indeed our experience, how do we demonstrate that in ways that are humble and winsome? We can’t just blurt out to our friends and neighbors, “My life is more holy than yours because of God’s supernatural power within…That challenge you face is really not a problem for me…My power to resist temptation comes from God Himself.” You get the idea.
So, how do we live close enough to our friends and neighbors to demonstrate the supernatural influence Christ has empowered us with without coming across as proud, boorish, and condescending? I must admit that I don’t have a good answer because with all the emphasis on common ground with unbelievers in evangelism, I am coming to realize that I really have very little in common with my unbelieving neighbor. Something seems off with this equation and I don’t know where the balance lies. Do you have some ideas on how to communicate the supernatural nature of our new lives in ways that are humble and winsome? I would love to hear from you. Please share!
We should practice our righteousness, not in ways that are Pharisaical or haughty, but in ways that engender, “How can I get in on that?” This is another motivation to do the right thing.