I sat in bed last week listening to my husband worry pessimistically about our finances. 'We don't have enough.' 'There's so much to pay for at once.' The anxious remarks went on and on until I almost felt depressed.
I could clearly hear the lies that my husband believed. I could see the way in which he was exaggerating our current situation to make himself believe that we had no hope.
In the book of Ephesians chapter 4, verse 15, Paul urges the Ephesians to 'speak the truth in love to one another'.
I could clearly hear that my husband James didn't believe the truth about our situation, and had begun to sink into a downward spiral of lies. In the moment, it was obvious to me that he needed to be reminded of the gospel.
How would the gospel provide any advice about our financial situation? Wouldn't financial advice be more helpful?
The gospel is the good news about Jesus. It is the good news that he lived, died, rose again and ascended to heaven.
If we believe that Jesus is all sufficient for us, and that he has everything we need, we can trust that the gospel will point us to that sufficiency every time it is shared.
It is likely that when we feel anxious, we are not resting in the belief that Jesus is sufficient for us; we are not hearing the gospel.
It was clear to me in that moment that my husband did not believe Jesus is all-sufficient for us. He needed to the truth of the gospel to replace the lies he was ruminating on.
After listening to his worries, I asked him, 'James, what is the gospel?' He gave me a short, sharp version, 'Jesus died for our sin, was buried, raised and ascended to heaven.' I then asked him, 'So what does that information mean for you?' He replied, 'He has paid the penalty for my sin and has raised me to new life in Christ. His power lives in me.'
After hearing him say this, I watched his whole demeanour change. Suddenly, the lies he believed were exposed. The power of the gospel was taking precedence.
I didn't do much in this situation. I simply asked few questions, namely, 'what is the gospel?' and 'what does it mean for you?' It's simple! The gospel speaks for itself, but often we need each other to 'speak the truth in love' because we fail to focus on it. 'Dwell on the grace that saves you'
The gospel has the power to make every problem look insignificant in comparison to Jesus and his love for us.
Why the gospel?
Our common reaction when a friend is downhearted or anxious about something is to give them kind-hearted advice or common clichÃ©s.
From time to time I can be guilty of reeling off the old, 'It'll be OK', or 'You'll get through this.' Whilst these statements may be true, I want to be a person who provides the most helpful response to someone's difficulties.
The most helpful response I can provide is the gospel; the good news about Jesus.
Jesus is the truth that we need to hear in the midst of the lies we believe. We need to be reminded of who he is, what he has done and what he promises.
How do we do it?
To speak the gospel to one another we need to know what the gospel is. Could you explain to someone what the gospel is?
We also need to understand why the gospel is good news for us and the people around us. We are sinners, prone to want things our way. We need to be able to tell the people in our lives the reason why they need the gospel. In my husband's case, he was sustaining a human perspective, rather than a godly perspective. Could you articulate why the gospel is good news?
We need to have relational currency with people in order to speak this truth to them. I wouldn't wander up to a stranger at my church and speak the gospel to them without knowing them as a person first. I would, however, speak the truth in love to those in my small group because I am in regular, deep relationship with them.
Consider the relationships where you have relational currency to speak the truth in love. It is my prayer that as you do this you see the lightbulb go off in people's minds.
Sarah Young is completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology and loves spending time engaging with young people. She spends her spare time writing songs, running and going on adventures with her husband, James.
Sarah Young's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sarah-young.html