Vol 2:33 Mission and Evangelism: Living Life through “Gospel Filters”

Ben Campbell Johnson in Speaking of God: Evangelism as Initial Spiritual Guidance expresses the process of discernment as listening through “gospel filters” (cf. p. 121).

I would like to take that a step further by asking the question as to how we live our lives through “gospel filters.” This is not a way of seeing through “rosy tinted glasses” which causes us to see what we want to see, but seeing and living life through “gospel filters” is about living and doing life, all of life, in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Reign of God.

This is a way of engaging life, engaging whomever we meet, through the eyes of Jesus. How does Jesus look at, respond to what is going on in our lives, the relationships we have, the encounters we make, if he were living our lives. In fact, as we confess that our life is hidden in Christ, that we have been baptized not only into his death, but also his resurrection, we can confess that Jesus is living our lives – or we are living Jesus’ life. I am the first to admit that my life looks more like my own, my agendas, my passions, etc., but as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I commit myself each day to live my life rooted and grounded in Jesus – so that he might live in me and through me.

And in light of that confession, I realize that it is my desire to live my life through the eyes of Christ – through “gospel filters.”

Campbell-Johnson gives voice to this by alluding to the “I am” sayings of Jesus and seeing the life we live through the gospel filter of these “I am” declarations (cf. pp. 123-127). These statements by Jesus are: I am the bread of life (John 6:35); I am the light of the world (John 8:12); I am the door of the sheep (John 10: 7); I am the Good Shepherd (John 10: 11); I am the vine (John 15: 5); I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6); and one he misses, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

So, for example, Campbell-Johnson states in relation to Jesus’ “I am the bread of life” that this “points to the nature of God as the one who nurtures and sustains us” (p. 123). Or, in relation to Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” that this points to Christ as the one who “enables persons to understand the meaning of their lives and illumines the direction for them to take” (p. 124).

To live out lives with “gospel filters” means to immerse ourselves in Jesus Christ – to live into the way he sees the world, the way he regards people, the way he engages situations. In essence, it is to continue the ministry of Jesus in the world, in the same way Jesus lived and ministered in light of God’s redemptive mission in the world.

This is not a mere adding of religion to our lives, it is rooting our whole being in the life of Jesus Christ – for us to more than become like him, for us to be shaped by him so that all our living grows (because we are developing into Christ-likeness) in being an expression of the gospel of God’s reign being lived out in the ordinary daily routines of our lives.

To live our lives with “gospel filters” means that we need to immerse ourselves in the Gospels, in God’s Story so that our minds and lives are transformed by the Spirit – so that we grow in seeing all of life through the Gospel – and more, living our lives through the Gospel.

May we encourage each other to live our lives through “Gospel filters.”

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