“Though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
“For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:2-12
Paul had every reason to hold back and protect himself from the persecution, difficulties, and fatigue that he would encounter spreading the gospel. But the Lord’s word in Him became a burning fire, a message that could not be squelched and had to be told. (Jeremiah 20:9)
Once we have been gripped and changed by the gospel, transformed in mind and direction, passion and pursuit, the gospel of Christ is an outflow of our new life. It goes forth propelled by pure love, deep gratitude, and great expectancy.
How authentically is the gospel going out from me? Is a heart of genuine love spilling over in words that proclaim unadulterated truth at all times, spoken with grace and boldness? Has my identity been so transformed and secured that I care not about flattery or approval, but only about what the good news of Jesus could mean for another? Is my compulsion to share the gospel stoked by wanting someone to change for my benefit or reputation, or by a heartfelt yearning that they know the freedom and joy of forgiveness? (Ephesians 4:15; 6:18-20)
How attractively is the gospel going out from me? Do I speak one thing, and live another? Do gossip, complaining, boasting pepper my speech and thus mar the beauty of the words of life? Does my face reflect self-pity, my eye rolling superiority, or does my countenance exude compassion and invite trust?
How affectionately is the gospel going out from me? Do I prefer only to preach and finger-wag, or am I willing to invest time to connect, listen, answer questions, and pray for a soft heart and spiritual understanding? Is my bent to exhort with harshness and impatience, or am I gentle and honest in sharing my own struggles?
Father, cause Your gospel that I love to go forth from me in love, so others will love and be changed by You.