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How to Get Everything You Need from the Gospel

  • Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • Updated May 14, 2012
How to Get Everything You Need from the Gospel

Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Tullian Tchividjian's new book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything (Crossway Books, 2012).

Jesus intends the Gospel message to do much more than just ignite your faith. The Gospel contains the power to meet all your needs every day if you rely on it regularly instead of trying to live the Christian life through your own efforts.

When you draw your strength from the Gospel, you can have everything that really matters – even if you have nothing that the world offers. Here’s how you can get everything you need from the Gospel:

Pay attention to your restless feelings. Notice the different ways you feel restless. What changes do you want to make in your life? What are you hungering for that you don’t have? What are you pursuing that isn’t satisfying you? Every time you identify the source of a restless feeling in your life, keep in mind that it’s a signal meant to direct you to your ultimate need: a relationship with God.

Identify where you’re really placing your trust. Reflect on the daily decisions you make in various situations to figure out whether you’re placing your trust in Jesus or in lesser things like your work, your money, your health, your reputation, your goals, your achievements, your hobby, a relationship with a person you love, etc. Realize that anything that your heart is drawn to more than Jesus Himself is an idol in your life that is dangerous to you spiritually. Remind yourself of the truth that only Jesus can ultimately fulfill you. Idols tempt you by seeming to offer what you want and need, but in reality, they don’t have the power to provide it. Ask God to help you determine what source you’re truly turning to for needs such as acceptance, approval, security, significance, meaning, purpose, identity, and direction. Whenever you discover that you’re really trusting in someone or something other than Jesus to meet your deepest needs, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so you can focus on Jesus alone to meet those needs.

Break free of the enslaving pressure of do-it-yourself morality. Stop wasting time and effort trying to follow religious rules in your own strength and face the fact that, no matter how hard you work at changing your external behavior, you’re powerless to achieve any real and lasting change in your soul on your own. Focusing on your own spiritual performance will only make you self-absorbed, which will ironically draw you farther away from God – the opposite of your goal to get closer to God. But if you decide instead to place your trust entirely in the Gospel message (that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for you is what makes you righteous before God), then Jesus’ power will be at work in your soul, drawing you closer to God every day.

Realize why a relationship with Jesus is everything you’ll ever need. Devote some time to thinking about how Jesus is sovereign and supreme over all of creation and let those thoughts nurture a sense of awestruck wonder within your soul. Remind yourself of the Bible’s promises that all the fullness of God is within Jesus. Stop robbing yourself of the freedom Jesus secured for you by seeking what you need and from lesser things instead of Jesus Himself. Decide to place your trust in Jesus to be all things to you (such as your justification, freedom, grace, peace, hope, joy, and love). Realize that, through your relationship with Jesus, you already possess everything you’ll ever need – you simply need to receive the treasures that Jesus is offering you every day as you walk with Him through life.

Trust in daily grace to deal with your daily sin. When you’re confronted by the sin in your life each day, you don’t have to despair because you’re failing to measure up to perfection. Remember that you don’t have to be good for God to love you; God loves you unconditionally and He will make you good because He loves you. So whenever you become aware of sin in your life, confess it to God, repent, and rely on the grace that He will give you to grow beyond it. Transfer your trust from your own efforts to be successful to Jesus’ success for you – His sacrifice for your sins, which is already finished. When you stop dwelling on your own efforts to be holy and start focusing on how beautiful Jesus’ holiness is, you’ll start to become holier in the process because Jesus’ power will be at work in your mind.

Don’t be afraid to have nothing from the world’s perspective, since you have everything from God’s perspective. The Gospel’s power to give you everything you truly need frees you from the pressure of needing to prove anything or protect anything in your life. Realize that even if circumstances strip away everything that the world says is important from your life, absolutely nothing can ever separate you from God’s love or prevent Him from meeting your deepest needs when you trust Him to do so. Know that Jesus’ strength at work on your behalf overcomes all of your weaknesses, and Jesus’ blessings are more than enough to make up for anything that you lack.

Show others who need Jesus how the Gospel’s power is changing your life. Rather than trying to impress seekers with an image of how good a person you are (which will only discourage them when they compare themselves to you and think that that they’re not good enough to enjoy relationships with Jesus), show them honestly how you’re relying on the Gospel’s power to overcome the sin in your life. When they see that, seekers will be captivated by the Gospel’s power and drawn toward Jesus and the hope that He offers them.

Root your identity in your relationship with Jesus. Resist the world’s pressures to derive your identity from anything less than your relationship with Jesus. Remind yourself often that your connection with Jesus is the truest definition of who you are, and make that the basis for your confidence and all of your decisions.

Let God’s love for you inspire you to obey Him. Reflect on God’s love for you often to remind yourself that He wants the very best for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind so that you come to love what God loves and hate what God hates. Rely on the Gospel’s power to be obedient to God’s will so you can experience the full amount of blessings that He wants to give you.

Adapted from Jesus + Nothing = Everythingcopyright 2012 by Tullian Tchividjian. Published by Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill., http://www.crossway.org/.

Tullian Tchividjian is the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the author of other books, including Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different, Do I Know God? Finding Certainty in Life's Most Important Relationship, and Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of RebelsA Florida native, Tullian is also the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a contributing editor to Leadership Journal. A graduate of Columbia International University (philosophy) and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando (M.Div.), Tullian travels extensively, speaking at conferences throughout the United States, and his sermons are broadcast daily on the radio program LIBERATE. As a respected pastor, author, and speaker, Tullian is singularly and passionately devoted to seeing people set free by the radical, amazing power of God's grace. Visit his blog at: https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/tchividjian/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at:http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: May 14, 2012