Because There’s No Gospel All Day

I didn’t believe the world was full of anti-gospel messages, but it was. It is. It’s always been.

“You get up in the morning, maybe you read the Bible. Then go to school all day and there’s so many bad messages you’re getting from friends and social media and television and everything. You need to read your Bible because you’re not going to get what you need anywhere else.”

 

We were sitting in the coffee shop just before they closed. Dusk fell quietly outside the big picture window by our chairs. My twelve-year-old friend sipped a vanilla frappuccino while I blew on my steaming cup of decaf tea. At 37, I can ill afford a jolt of caffeine so late in the day. The disparity of our ages is obvious in the contents of our cups. She is my friend’s daughter, and we’ve been working out a discipleship relationship for the past few months—new territory for both of us, I think. It’s been an education I expected to give, not receive.

We’re nearing the end of the first book we’ve read together, and though I’m a little older than the target audience, the authorhas challenged and convicted me over and over again. A few weeks ago, we worked through a chapter on spiritual disciplines and why we need to practice them on a daily basis. Mentally, I cracked my knuckles and took a deep, satisfied breath. Teaching on spiritual disciplines is my specialty. I was certain I’d have lots of wisdom to impart.

Our discussion was perfectly fine. Not earth-shattering or full of brand-new advice. My young friend has grown up in the church—she knows what’s what. I was prepared to wrap things up when I posed one simple question to her based upon what we’d read and discussed. “Why do you think we need to come back to the truth of the gospel every day? Why do we need to read the Bible tomorrow if we already read it today?” Expecting something along the lines of “it’s the right thing to do” or “so we’ll know God better,” her actual answer floored me.

“Because there’s no gospel all day.”

I urged her to go on.

“You get up in the morning, maybe you read the Bible. Then go to school all day and there’s so many bad messages you’re getting from friends and social media and television and everything. You need to read your Bible because you’re not going to get what you need anywhere else.”

“So,” I offered, “it’s like all day you’re getting the opposite of the gospel. The anti-gospel.”

She nodded.

I nodded.

We wrapped up our conversation, exchanged prayer requests, I dropped her off at her house. But on the drive home, I kept hearing her simple explanation on a loop in my head.

What she explained so off-the-cuff—because there’s no gospel all day—I wish I’d grasped that at her age. I could have saved myself years of waffling over whether or not it was worth my time to carve out some time in my day to read my Bible. I didn’t believe the world was full of anti-gospel messages, but it was. It is. It’s always been.

The apostle Paul prepared us for the anti-gospel climate of the world in Ephesians 6, and he told us how to withstand it.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20, ESV)

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