Not in Words
The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power
1 Corinthians 4:19
A few months ago, I was reading a 2 inch book. The title of the book was "An Introduction to the New Testament". Considering the content of the book, I would say that it is a long introduction. The book mentioned that the word translated as gospel is a word that means good news. I guess everyone of us knows that. But the author explained further that the word is also used to describe news of victory as in a battle. A news of victory in a battle brings with it strong emotions of exhiliration and excitement. It also brings with it a top-of-the-world feeling of confidence.
Using this meaning to the gospel then, we can say that the gospel that we preach, to those who do not know Jesus, should also stir strong emotions in them. The gospel we preach should make the listeners excited and confident in the Lord because he has won for us the victory over evil..
But how can we stir these emotions in people? Definitely, we cannot stir them with arguments or nice talks. We cannot do this through our own power or logic. We can only do this through the power of the Spirit.
Admittedly, Paul was a good writer. But some experts believed that he was not a good speaker. In the Acts of the Apostles (20:7-12), we read that on the eve of his departure from Troas, Paul was speaking through the night. One of his listeners fell asleep and fell down from the window and died. But when Paul threw himself on the dead boy and said that the boy was still alive - the boy lived. We see here that despite his 'handicap' in speech, Paul became the greatest evangelizer in the early Chruch. The reason for this was not his skill in speaking. In fact, Apollos was a far better speaker than he was. But what made Paul so effective was his zeal that was evident in his enthusiasm whenever he preaches the gospel.
As Christians, we have to realize that we are proclaiming not only God's love - but God's victory over evil. We proclaim the hope that we have in this victory - that we too are sharing in this victory that our Lord has won for us. We do this not by words alone - but we do this by living our lives according to what we preach.
If we say that God has won for us victory over evil, then we should be living a life of victory over evil. If we continue to live in sin, then God's victory is not seen in us. If we proclaim that God is our Father and that he is faithful to provide for us - and if we cheat or are focused on the material things in life, then we are not living out our message. If we proclaim that God is our Lord, yet we worship our own idols of career, money and power - then people will know that we do not really believe in what we say.
Our lives should show what we preach. We will be known by our fruits. And if we proclaim that God has won over evil, then our lives should show that God has won over evil. We should constantly live lives that show our transformation from who we are to what God wants us to be. People turn to God not because they hear a good speaker, but because they see the power of God working in the lives of his people.
This month of October, we also remember Mary our Mother. She was the first and only person to experience Jesus physically in her womb. She showed us that a life in Jesus is a life of obedience to God and constant walking in faith - treasuring things in our hearts even if we do not understand. This is the only way that God can work in us - through our obedience and humble acceptance of his will.
Mary, our Mother, pray for us - so that we can walk in faith and let the Lord use us for the glory of his name.