DAY 1 - What is Gospel Fluency?
I’m so glad you are joining us on this journey towards gospel fluency. Over the next 10 weeks we will unite as a community learning to speak fluid Jesus. You’ll want to keep your Bible and a notebook handy to jot down your thoughts and discoveries as we reflect together.
So what do we mean by Gospel Fluency? If someone asked you the question, “What is the gospel?”, what would your answer be? You might say it’s what is found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which is a great starting point. If they pressed for more, you might add it’s the life, death and resurrection of Jesus which saves us. But what if they asked, “how do you apply the gospel to your everyday life?” Gospel fluency happens when the desire to become more like Jesus is reflected in every part of our lives. Our relationships, conversations, and interaction with people change when we relate the way Jesus related to people. When the teachings of the gospel permeate the everyday parts of living our lives it changes our parenting, financial decisions, our work days until it influences our every thought.
When you were in school, did you study a foreign language? I took Spanish from 8th-12th grade and really felt as though I knew the language. The summer of my senior year I spent a week touring parts of Mexico and was hit with the shocking realization that I could not communicate in Spanish. I was translating everything I heard and then what I wanted to say, in my head first and it was a slow, awkward and frustrating process. I’d only used the language in the safety of my classroom where we concentrated on the language rules but not conversation. Because English was still the language of my thoughts, a meaningful conversation in Spanish was impossible. I realized I was NOT fluent in Spanish because I hadn’t totally immersed myself in it.
This can happen with the gospel for us as Christians. We know about Jesus and worship Him with our church family. We know the Sunday School answers that Jesus saved us from our sins and that the gospel is good news. But we don’t THINK in gospel and what it means to us. It answers so many questions for us. Who Jesus is? What is His character? How did He relate to people? What does He say to us today? We can see Him throughout the pages of scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Knowing Him reveals the love of God our Father to us. There is much to learn and it’s all good news – the gospel. Knowing the truth of the gospel is a great first step. But living out those truths on a daily basis means allowing the gospel to become the filter for the way we live our lives. The process begins when we surrender to the Holy Spirit leading us to become intentional about filtering our thoughts and actions through the teaching of the gospel.
Fluency in a language happens when you move from just translating the unfamiliar to the familiar, to interpreting life through that new language.
I believe this is what God wants His people to experience with the gospel. He wants them to be able to translate the world around them and the world inside of them through the lens of the gospel-the truths of God revealed in the person and work of Jesus. Gospel-fluent people think, feel, and perceive everything in light of what has been accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. - “Gospel Fluency” Jeff Vanderstelt
But how do we accomplish such a huge sounding task. The same way we become fluent in a foreign language. We immerse ourselves in a community that speaks and practices the gospel. Together, we encourage one another to ‘speak Jesus’ in our joy and in our pain and sorrow. We fill our thoughts with who He is to us as we learn from His Word. We are honest about the things in our lives that don’t get filtered through the gospel and we soak in God’s truth.
Romans 12:2 (NIV) - Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The thrilling part of this journey is the fact that as we learn to see every bit of our lives through the life and work of Jesus for us and in us, we are being transformed into His image. Oh what a joy it is to become like Jesus so that we can reflect His love to a dark and pain filled world in all His glory.
With this definition of Gospel fluency in mind, name a person you’ve known who demonstrates it in their lives. What makes them different? What characteristics of Jesus do you notice about them?
Think about the last 24 hours, where did you clearly see the influence of the gospel in your life?