But what about the poor who are doing with less food, water, and shelter–the basic necessities of life. Some of these include Christians living in countries where they don’t have as much as we do here in North America, but they are still happy and content. Can we say that they haven’t experienced the full extent of the gospel or are under the devil’s curse? Certainly not. They can be some of the happiest and most content people on earth.
God’s kingdom includes:
- blessings of various sorts so we may live abundantly (e.g., spiritual, physical, social, a smile from others, etc.)
- sufferings of various sorts to help us grow (e.g., financial, family, work, marriage, etc.)
- bringing a positive influence into our culture, and going out into society and doing acts of kindness for others in need because God has abundantly poured out his love on you
- sharing the good news of Jesus Christ
Some of us make the mistake of collapsing aspects of God’s kingdom into the gospel and calling everything “the gospel”. The gospel is only a component of God’s kingdom, and not vice-versa. This means God’s blessings, our sufferings, good deeds and acts of kindness are not part of the gospel. But, the gospel does open the door to God’s blessings.
Our Christian lives needs to include all four aspects in God’s kingdom so that our spiritual lives can be a fuller and richer experience. Christians who have never experienced some or any of these may have stunted spiritual growth. They may come out wondering, “Why I don’t enjoy being a Christian even after all these years?” Maybe they have been forgiven, but… Maybe they’ve never experienced some suffering where God wanted to bring a learning point of dependency upon God. Maybe they’ve never received an outpouring of God’s blessings. Maybe they’ve never done any acts of kindness in the world and have lived a sheltered life.
Nonetheless, at the core of the gospel is simply this and nothing else: the forgiveness of all our wrongs, failings and shortcomings. It has the power to give us reason to trust, hope, have joy, and peace. The good news opens the way for us to be reconciled from broken relationships, to be healed from our hurts, to correct our wrongs, and to be forgiven of the sins we have committed yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It brings us freedom from shame and guilt that comes with life as a human being. The gospel brings freedom to a new beginning and access to fullness of life.
If you feel your spiritual life is feel dry and empty then you might have missed out on something.