I want beauty in my life.
I want it to be in the form of refreshment for myself and others.
I want to see Jesus more in my life.
I want the Jesus ripple effect.
I see it play out in chapter seven of the second book of Corinthians. This beauty and refreshment released in the lives who make up the body of Christ. It happened when they repented and turned toward God and others in love.
Chapter six tells us God’s word to us about himself:
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
We are then immediately commanded by Paul, in light of the above promises, to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
We aren’t to cleanse ourselves in a legalistic way in order to gain a way to God or to keep from losing God. It is a cleansing because of God’s promises. A cleansing out of gratefulness, joy and awe about being one of God’s people and He being our God.
In chapter seven, we see how repentance played out among the Corinthians. It was beautiful. A response to the gospel with godly sorrow and repentance.
Here is what my Gospel Transformation Bible says about it:
“To see gospel transformation in action, consider these movements of grace: Paul receives comfort in his affliction from Christ. This gives him the confidence and grace to write a difficult letter to the Corinthians in which he speaks the truth in love. Their response is godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Their repentance leads to a renewed zeal for godliness. As they are refreshed by the Spirit, they become a source of refreshment-bringing joy to their leaders through their obedience to the gospel. In turn, Titus experiences rejuvenation, which causes Paul to rejoice all the more. The gospel transformation is beautifully personal and interpersonal.”
This is the Jesus ripple effect.
I used to think that to live a radical Christian life I needed to take part in something that looked like a big action or lifestyle. Like going on a missions trip or changing where I lived. I’ve changed my mind. Following Jesus and submitting to the commands of the bible is the radical life in this day and age. Submitting to the Lord and repenting of sin IS the radical life because it is the rare person in the world who does it. It’s not wrong to go on a missions trip or to move in order to live among people God is calling you to. It is wrong to think you HAVE to do that in order to get God’s approval or in order to be a radical Christian. Simply following Christ and His commands is radical.
What would the Jesus ripple effect be if those who call themselves Christians really followed Christ? If we took seriously repentance? If we really believed not just His word about grace but also His word about how He longs for His family to live. That we have a need for Him, not just at that moment when we decide to believe, but every moment every day as we trust Him.
What would it look like if we worshiped Him through repentance, a turning from sin toward Him and others?
This would be radical for me. To move in love TOWARD others who sin against me. To move in love toward others who I WANT to sin against.
Not just people who are at a distance but even my husband and children in the moments when they feel most offensive to me.
I don’t want to ever underestimate the power of the gospel. To shake my head at the thought of writing a difficult letter. To shake my head at the thought of moving toward a family member who is acting ugly. To shake my head and turn against myself in anger.
What will happen in my life as I do the difficult thing that my flesh feels least like doing buy my heart longs for?
I begin to begin again right here in my own home today. My daughter just asked me for a fourth thing since she woke five minutes ago. I just stopped the big sigh and rolling of the eyes and I’m moving toward her in love. There will be many more opportunities today!
Lord, will you cause the ripple effect in my life as I submit to you? Will you show me where I need to submit, repent and move toward others?
I want to see gospel transformation in action. Are you seeing it in your life? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
Photo credit: Google images: http://inreland.blogspot.com/2012/02/ripples-from-heavens-glimpse-into-life.html
Linking up this week with these inspiring ladies: