“The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine,” said Martin Luther. “Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” Luther did have a way with words. I find that I need to beat it into my own head and heart continually.
A good example of this is with a topic like busyness. A therapeutic or self-help approach to busyness gives techniques and strategies. Some strategies get to heart issues of what’s driving us, but few approaches apply the Gospel to the issue.
What does busyness have to do with the Gospel? Tim Chester has written a good book on the topic. It’s called The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness.
Chester has posted a talk on busyness that echoes some of the themes of this book. Chester says that most of our busyness is self-induced. “Many of us are busy,” he says, “because we feel the need to prove ourselves.” That’s where the Gospel comes in:
There’s nothing wrong with being busy. Most of us enjoy being busy. What creates stress is the feeling that we cannot meet the expectations of others or of God. But Jesus offers rest from the burden of self-justification. We are accepted by God. This is how we find meaning and value. At the most fundamental level, Tim Chester is a justified sinner. I’m not fundamentally a writer, or preacher, or even a husband and father. I am a sinner saved by grace and all I contribute to that identity is the sin bit. I don’t need to prove myself as a sinner saved by grace. Instead I praise the gracious embrace of the Father, the complete atonement of the Son and the Spirit’s enabling presence. This is who I am. And it’s a gift. I don’t need to earn it.
It’s a good talk, and the whole thing is worth reading. It’s also a good example of how to relate the Gospel to every area of our lives.