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9.19.2005

Matthew 4:17

What is the Gospel? What is the "good news"? In a nutshell, this phrase sums up the message of Jesus to those around Him who wanted and need to hear: "Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near" (Matthew 4:17). That's it - stop living for your selfishness, start living towards God, because the Kingdom is here ahead of you.

The way we live life must change. We're forgiven, and He loves us - but He also enables us to turn from the old attitudes and towards Himself. That's a change; that's repentance. Every day, choosing His ways over our own - that's how we grow in the Kingdom, and it's right here ahead of us.

Life choices change for the better. Our language becomes one of more blessing than insult. We choose to help others instead of ignoring needs, and we watch for opportunities to love the people around us. That's what happens in the life of one who's growing in Christ. It's not easier, not a "better way to live out your purpose" - as much as it's the best way to live, regardless of how hard it might be. You realize one day that something happens and you respond differently than you would've a year ago, five years ago. The driver on the freeway cuts you off and you wonder if everything's okay in his life instead of getting hacked off - evidence of a changing and growing life.

You find yourself praying, talking with God. You make time in your schedule to read the Bible - for the first time in years, it doesn't have dustbunnies living off it's cover, and instead it's "used" and you've got notes and are jotting things down from the morning sermon. You hear from the pastor or a friend or the radio, and you meditate on what God might be saying through these avenues of communication. You grow and mature and change, and people wonder about it and ask questions ans seek you advice... because you're living for Christ in the kingdom right now, just ahead of you.

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