Communicating You (Part Seven)
Backwards thinking assumes the Gospel fits in to the conversation of image and communication. But responsibility is exercised when the Gospel message is appropriately seen as the source of authentic self and true connection.
The Gospel must be primary. Out of an understanding of the Gospel we find the need and call to be authentic; to authentically reflect the Father’s likeness and effectively communicate with him and others. The Gospel is thus: God entering into human history and doing what had to be done as the only one who could accomplish the task. The reality of sin disabled men and women to live out true, full life on earth and approach God’s eternal holy light in eternity.
Sin equals separation and unrealized purpose therefore perfect life is necessary for relationship and fulfillment. Thankfully, Christ lived the perfect life, died, and rose to impute to us the rights and privileges attached to his righteousness and holiness. It is at the cross and in the empty tomb that we find our true identity and real communication. Christ is the perfect representation of the image we are to cultivate. His actions represent the connection we are to mimic.
Image, relationship, and communication are all intrinsically interconnected and are found in their truest form within the freeing regulations of the Gospel message. God’s image is discovered best in Christ and in his inauguration of the Kingdom by physically touching earth’s dirt. Relationship is observed in its purest form when we witness the righteous, intriguing submission of the Son to the Father. Not only so, but in his submission the opportunity for corporate and personal relationship with God is made alive. However, we would be remiss if we dwindled down Christ’s communication to the world as a simple action. The old adage, actions speak louder than words, is found wanting in the Kingdom of God. Christ does not simply communicate that he loves us by coming to earth, dying, and living again. The example of communication that Christ radiates on earth is that of connection. Jesus came down from angel-filled heavenly courts and connected with sinful men and women. He spoke with beggars, healed leapers, befriended crooked tax collectors, and conversed with hypocrites. Jesus perfectly displayed authentic communication through action and words.
The Gospel defines, exhibits, and grants the remedy to our sickness. The aliment is false image creation, which is birthed from idolatry. At the moment we pursue any end but Christ we have believed in a different gospel and served another god. In addition, we are diseased by the progressive decay of communication, which is born out of the former. The remedy is a recalibration or refocus on Jesus Christ and the image he displayed and communication he used to connect with people.
If we are unable to readjust, or better, reconcile the sins of idolatry and pride which manifest in the forms of these sicknesses, then the repercussions will be severe. If mission is about connecting not yet Christians to Jesus, how do we do this? It is almost exclusively through relationship. Few non-believers experience a Damascus road moment. On the contrary, they often experience Jesus in the life of a friend. Thus relationship is found to be the outcome and the vehicle of Christian mission.