You are special and worthy of so much more…and other useless drivel that is clearly #nottheGospel

by | 8 Feb, 2019 | 1 comment

We’re drowning in a cesspool of dissonant voices.

Every single person has a voice. Each person has an agenda. If you have an internet connection, you have a platform.

Satan’s misinformation campaign runs around-the-clock and he employs, as his heralds, a legion of oftentimes well-meaning people, even believers, who mindlessly and faithfully regurgitate and proliferate messages of personal empowerment that sound nice.

However, upon examination, they are definitely #nottheGospel.

Rid your life of negative people.

This one is so prevalent but so clearly #nottheGospel.

“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect a positive life,” quoth (gulp) Joel Osteen. Negative people bring people down. They have a problem for every solution. Their negativity is contagious and will certainly detract from you being the best you that you can be and achieving all that you dream.

The only solution is expulsion.

Get them out of your life. Now, not later. Expunge them from the books. Move on. You do not need these people in your life.

On the contrary, surround yourself with positivity. Positive people. They will lift you up. They will empower you. They will help you take your to the next level. Success is the goal. Positivity fuels our motivation to get there. Think positive thoughts.

Makes sense. Right?

Rubbish.

God calls the believer to be the salt and light of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-16)

God calls the believer to make disciples of all the nations. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

Nowhere is a man’s attitude a factor.

Yes, being around negative people can be tiresome. Yes, being around negative people can sap your strength. Yes, I like to be around positive people as much as you do, but there is really no such thing as an inherently negative person. One is either redeemed or not, saved or not, of Christ or not. One may feel, speak, act, or even think negatively, but why?

If that person is a brother or sister in Christ, would we reject them? Maybe they are struggling with sin of some kind. Maybe they are lonely. Maybe they are wrestling with God about a hidden issue. Either way, Paul tells us that when one member of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer. (1 Corinthians 12:26) We ought to suffer alongside a fellow believer suffering in negativity.

If the negative person is not a believer, should we really cast them from our life. They are unredeemed. Negativity is the least of our worries. They don’t know Christ! They need the words of life that you have. Perhaps they are negative because they don’t know the hope found in the Gospel of the risen Lord Jesus. 

In sovereignty, God has placed these people in your life. Would you be the one to tell them the good news?

Are we to decide who is worthy of our fellowship and love?

You are special and worthy of good things.

So much is wrapped up in our self-worth and our self-esteem.

From our youngest days, we impress upon our children their entitlement. It’s a joke, a cliché, but every kid truly does get a trophy, no matter how they do or do not contribute. We do everything in our power to build up their self-esteem, their sense of self-worth, how they feel about themselves.

We’ve built an entire cottage industry with the sole purpose of making us feel better about ourselves. In many ways, we’ve shaped our entire system, our entire culture, around making us each feel that we are not only unique, but unique and deserving.

We deserve better.

We were made for more.

This life you’re living now, it’s not good enough. Your relationships. Your job. Your home. Your financial standing. Your social status. They could all be better. You know it and I know it.

You are worth it and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.

Excrement.

On my own merits, I deserve hell and nothing less.

Gulp. There it is.

God speaks clear to the intrinsic worth of a man. I had worth. Created in the image of God, I reflect the summation of the possibility of His character. (Geneses 1:27) Man is the pinnacle of creation, the crown jewel in the created order. (Psalm 8) As such, every man or woman to ever walk the planet is deserving of dignity and respect.

Yet I slandered it.

It’s all been corrupted.

We took the beautiful created order and in our sin, rendered it wretched. There is no one who is righteous, not a single one. No one seeks after God. No one loves God. No one does good, not one. (Romans 3) Our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick. (Jeremiah 17:9) There’s nothing I can do about it. I was born into it. (Psalm 51:5)

At the same time, creation testifies loud and clear to the existence of a God whom we all reject. (Romans 1) Therefore we are without excuse.

Each of us, at some point in our lives, maybe even presently, looks at all that God is and rejects Him. We choose to worship and serve the created thing instead of the Creator and for that, we all deserve one single thing. 

Justice.

Justice for sin against an eternally holy and righteous God equals eternal torment in a place called hell. How’s your self-esteem?

The idea that I deserve anything other than justice is clearly #nottheGospel.

It’s all about doing good, being kind.

Think of the best person you know. Perhaps it’s even you!

Either way, consider them for a minute. What makes them special or good? Have they done good deeds? Have they helped you? Do they display selflessness? Consider their goodness. Consider their righteousness.

Now, consider that the very best you or I or anyone else has to offer, of our own volition, is a filthy rag in the eyes of the Lord, literally a used menstrual garment. (Isaiah 64:6)

We may do good deeds, certainly, but the corruption of sin has tainted even our best deeds. The idea that we can do enough good things, that our good deeds will save us is clearly #nottheGospel.

We will never earn favor with God. We will never attain standing before Him, of our own accord.

When you really want something, you will find a way.

Tony Robbins spearheads a bevy of self-help motivational speakers that convince us that “We Can!”

You cannot…and even if you could, does it actually matter?

Definitely #nottheGospel.

If you’re unhappy, that’s on you.

Assuredly #nottheGospel.

God is infinitely more concerned with our holiness rather than our happiness.

Be the hero of your own story.

Self-worship that is clearly #nottheGospel.

There exists a billion deviations, perversions really, of the singular message of hope and that is this:

God saves sinners!

This is the crux of the Gospel, the only message with timeless merit.

Okay, I’ll concede. These other ideas may possess temporal merit. If pop psychology and self-help gurus can motivate or equip someone to attain a measure of peace and/or happiness, then that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like God begrudges us our livelihood.

Substitution is the issue, substitution that generates confusion.

When Christians parrot this drivel either as the Gospel or on par with the Gospel or even as a part of the Gospel, we fuel misunderstanding, perhaps even our own. Consider that Satan would love nothing more than for each of us to trumpet our own ability, while standing in line to see Oprah, convinced of the possibility of so much more.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for wretched sinners like me or like you, that we might be forgiven our sins. Our only hope lay in this truth, that if we repent and believe in the risen Lord Jesus, we will be saved, unto eternity.

Only He is worthy. My value exists only in Him. His work becomes my work, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Let us cut through the confusion.

Let us propagate this message worth hearing.

1 Comment

  1. Ren O

    A very thought provoking writing. Just last week i was having the conversation with God and myself about negativity and how much of it i was dealing with here in DC. People are always on the go, not caring about their fellow citizen and their concerns are all that matter. That attitude tends to bring about a negativity that i am not always prepared to deal with. The truth of the matter is that there probably is additional information that we are not privy to know and see with them which causes them to think the way that they do. Society does tell me to turn away and cast out negative people from my life, and I have done this action so long that it has become habit and almost like breathing. How do i relearn and behave differently toward those who may be going through something? First i have to understand my God Given purpose for my life and also accept that every day will not be happy and pleasing to me, however as long as I believe in Christ and do all I can in LOVE hopefully those people will change and accept the love He willingly gives each of us. My value and self-worth is nothing apart from Jesus. It has taken me a very long time to get to this place of understanding in my life as my time in the military has told me different.

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Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith

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Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).

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