Another summer in Australia includes public service television spots reminding everyone in rural areas to have a plan to deal with bushfire emergencies.
After the fire has broken out it’s too late to develop a plan about how you’re going to respond to the threat.
Tim Brister reflects on the lessons Christians can learn from these warnings in the intentional development of a personal Gospel Response Plan.
The plan deals with two certainties of life: someone will sin against you; and you will sin against someone else.
When it’s happened is not the best time to work out what you’re going to do.
It’s far better to have thought it out before hand, and then work yourself through the steps of a gospel-centered response in everyday situations where your fallen nature might otherwise provoke you to respond in non-gospel ways.
This is personal because you know best the situations where you are most likely to react in ways that don’t display the love of Jesus.
You are sinner living in a fallen world. You are going to be hurt, betrayed, frustrated, prideful, annoyed, judgmental, pitiful, and so much more. It’s going to happen. But are you going to be trained as a follower of Jesus Christ to know, almost instinctively, how to respond with the gospel through premeditated prescriptions of specific ways to walk in repentance and faith?
Perhaps what we need to do each morning is prepare ourselves with some “gospel drills”. Think about one possible situation a gospel response will be required of you. For example, you are at a restaurant and your server is extremely slow and the food is cold. The server asks you if there is anything else you need, and you are tempted to treat her like her actions deserve. But instead, you respond by saying, “Thank you for serving me today, and by the way, as I pray over my food I would like to know if there is anything I can pray for you about?” Who knows? The server may already be feeling guilty and embarrassed by their service and surprised by your gracious response. They could be going through a terrible crisis in their lives, and they open up to you and provide opportunity to minister to them (and perhaps introduce them to Jesus).
Why that gospel drill? Because you will get bad service and cold food. You will be tempted to act out of the old Adam and not out of the risen Christ.