The Underbelly of the Gospel

What lies beneath the gospel in your life?

I vividly remember cruise night in my hometown.  It was the epic event of each summer.  Anyone who was anybody was at cruise night.  It was one of the few events that brought together a generational and economical cross section of the community.  It was a night that smelled of barbeque and exhaust fumes.  It was wonderful.

A variety of cars would parade down Main Street from the pimped out high school clunkers to the vintage antiques. Typically, younger drivers drove junkier cars with  louder sound systems.  Adult enthusiasts sported Corvettes and Cadillacs from previous decades.  Regardless of the age of the driver, or the value of the car, they were all pristine and ready for one thing: five hours of bumper-to-bumper, 15 mile-per-hour, cruising paradise.  It was marvelous.

In addition to being “show ready”, each car shared another feature that few would consider.  They all had an under carriage, hidden from plain view, but exposed to all of the elements.  Regardless of how clean the driver kept the exterior and interior, they were nearly helpless to protect the under belly of the vehicle.  And for the most part, none of them likely cared since no one was looking.

In many ways church can become a sort of “spiritual cruise night.” We keep the topside of the gospel display-ready.   We know how to talk, pray, and generally behave as a person saved by grace.  Yet, what lies beneath the gospel in our lives?

If we were to take a look at the underbelly of the gospel we might find an assortment of works righteousness, legalistic strongholds, and otherwise anti-grace sentiments.  Maybe we would find doubt, indifference, or self-reliance.

I’m convinced that we need to heed the words of Martin Luther to speak the gospel to our hearts on a daily basis.  Take the time today to examine the recesses of your heart.  Ask God to reveal the areas where you fail to trust him alone for grace.  Ask God to clear away the residue of self-salvation efforts in your life.

Consider the prayer of the psalmist as you seek to live by the very grace by which you have been saved:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

(Psalm 139:23-34)

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