Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! (1 Corinthians 9:16)
We all have a tendency to find shade under the tree of “woe,” which is a poor place to find protection from the withering sun of tribulation.
- Woe is me! I got cut from the team.
- Woe is me! I did not get accepted at my college of choice.
- Woe is me! I did not get the job I wanted.
- Woe is me! I was passed over for that big promotion.
- Woe is me! There is too much month left at the end of the money.
We learn to “woe” at an early age, and it can follow us throughout our entire life if we are not careful. Yet there is one “woe” that is worthy to be used in our conversation: the “woe” that comes from the pen of the apostle Paul. So convicted and captured by the Gospel was Paul that he measured his entire existence in terms of the truths of the Gospel flowing through his words, his works, and his witness. For Paul, life was all about Christ — “To me, to live is Christ,” he said (Philippians 1:21) — and Paul’s heart beat for nothing smaller than Jesus after his Damascus Road experience with the risen Savior changed Paul from the inside out.
This is to be the condition of every child of God. Not that we are all called to be vocational preachers of the Gospel; you may be a truck driver, a teacher, or a tax attorney. Yet every disciple of Christ is called to be a channel and a conduit of the love of God in Christ Jesus. The truths of the Gospel are to flow through our thoughts, words, deeds, and desires. We are to preach the Gospel to all those we come in contact with; our lips and our lives should both bear witness to the truth of new life in Christ Jesus. We are to both declare the Gospel and demonstrate it, regardless of the cost or circumstance. When we don’t do these things, we find ourselves in the same condition as Paul, painfully conscious of the worthy “woe” of failing to preach the Gospel.
Have you been sharing Jesus with others lately? Is your life a confession of the truths of the Gospel to all those with whom you come in contact? Are God’s kingdom priorities your priorities in both your personal and professional life?
Let us never utter another “woe.” Let us keep our focus on our King and work to expand His kingdom everywhere we go. May we joyfully declare the truth of salvation through faith in Christ, and may our lives, by grace through faith, demonstrate the power of Jesus Christ to fill our hearts with the fruit of His Spirit.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!