Last week, I asked you to define the gospel. Nearly one hundred of you responded, many with fantastic ideas about what the gospel really means. Here are just a few of my favs:
We all are born with Adam’s sin nature. We are destined for hell from birth. The gospel is that Christ died for His chosen people, because of His great love for us. We have salvation in Christ alone by faith alone. —Abbie
Man’s indwelling sinfulness overcome by the perfect power of our Savior! —Haley
The gospel is the good news that all of the sin I have ever committed has been paid for in Jesus Christ: His life, death, and resurrection. By His blood, I have been adopted as God’s own child and will stand blameless before Him, ransomed and redeemed. —Jenn
All of these descriptions of the gospel hit on three important highlights:
- We are all chronic sinners. (I loved how Haley called it our “indwelling sinfulness.” That means we are sinners to the core.)
- Jesus died to pay the penalty we deserved because of that sin.
- Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been rescued from sin, death, and separation from God.
It all sounds pretty warm and fuzzy on paper or when we hear it from the pulpit. But if you’re like me, you have a tendency to respond to the gospel in ways that aren’t all rainbows and butterflies. To put the ways I tend to respond to the gospel under a microscope, we need to take a little field trip to the Hundred Acre Wood. (In case you’ve forgotten, that’s where Winnie the Pooh and his friends live!)
“Thanks for Noticin’ Me”
Do you remember Eeyore from the stories of Winnie the Pooh?
There’s nothing spectacular about him. He’s just an old, gray donkey. He’s gloomy and grumpy, always looking at the ground. He’s famously fond of saying, “Thanks for noticin’ me,” as if he’s surprised that anyone would ever want to pay attention to him. He’s definitely a glass-is-half-empty kind of donkey. In fact, did you know that his corner of Pooh’s forest is called “Eeyore’s Gloomy Place: Rather Boggy and Sad”?
Eeyore is the kind of friend who sucks the life out of you. After fifteen minutes with him, we would all feel a little worse about the world.
My natural disposition isn’t quite as gloomy as ol’ Eeyore, but when it comes to the gospel, my response sometimes is. I often catch myself thinking thoughts like these:
- “I’m stuck.”
- “I’m such a screw up.”
- “I will never get it right.”
- “I will never overcome my sin.”
Have you ever felt those things? Then you know what we tell ourselves when we take the Eeyore approach.
- “God doesn’t love me.”
- “How could He?”
- “I’m such a failure.”
Just like poor ol’ Eeyore.
The Antivenin for Eeyore Syndrome
Here’s how an Eeyore approach the to gospel plays out practically. We don’t try to get free from our sin. We don’t repent. (What difference would that make?) We live like slaves, even though God wants us to be free!
In fact, the gospel is the only antivenin to our Eeyore mentality. Because the gospel makes it clear that it is no longer our responsibility to cure our sin problem. We don’t have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. It’s not about trying harder or winning more. It’s about Jesus. Our victory is through Him and because of Him. The gospel is a billboard seen throughout all of history that screams, “God loves me! Because of Him I am free!”
Eeyores assume that God just kind of tolerates us, but the gospel is proof that He doesn’t just tolerate us. He loves us with an everlasting love. He was willing to pay any price to rescue us.
When we look at our sin and Christ’s sacrifice and our heart starts responding like Eeyore would, we’ve got to learn to run to God’s Word for the truth that is anything but gloomy and hopeless. Whenever I feel Eeyore start to rise up in me, I run to one of my favorite verses . . .
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Gal. 5:1).
God set me free so that I could be free. Not so that I could be:
- hard on myself.
So how about you? Do you ever get an Eeyore response to your sin or Christ’s sacrifice? How have you seen that impact your relationship with God and others?
PS: Be sure to hop back on the blog tomorrow to see how Tigger might respond to the gospel.
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How would Eeyore respond to the gospel? Find out on @lywbblog today.