rebelling against low expectations

The Gospel As Told By A T-Shirt


Each morning when I wake up I make a decision.

Consistently every day I get out of bed and I put on this t-shirt. Well, not this exact one every day, but I have six identical t-shirts that all say, “Because The Gospel Is Really Good News.” I’m not kidding when I say that this decision affects my whole day, every day. Least of all because walking around shirtless in public is both impractical and very frowned upon.

It affects my day because people tend to react in some way to what the shirt says. Sometimes people sneer, insult me, or give me a strange look, other times they are quite happy to see it, but most of the time people just ignore it. I wonder if some people even really read it in the first place. But the point still stands that the decision to wear a shirt like this affects in some way my interaction with everyone else I see during the day.

I find this quite funny, actually.

Because the reaction someone has to this shirt is also a decision. It’s a decision based on how they view those two words “The Gospel.” Someone can decide to view them as negative, a positive, or decide not to acknowledge them altogether.

This is even funnier, too, because these types of decisions are what make up the main crux of this Gospel. It all starts at the beginning, when God made humans and we had our first decision to make. We could either trust in our creator and live as we were designed to, or we could try to do things on our own terms and suffer separation from our maker & our purpose. And, like the first humans, all of us in one way or the other decide to go it on our own.

The Story of This Really Good News

That’s the point of the first few chapters of what we call the book of Genesis: God makes everything and it’s good. Then we look at everything God made, including ourselves, decide to believe the lie that we can do better and. Mess. It all. Up.

But then God makes a decision too.

God the Father – even after spending time making us, being near to us, and guiding us only to see us reject him for a lie and ruin everything that was good and purposeful – decides that He wants to save us.

In fact, being God, He had already made this decision and had a plan to get the ball rolling.

You see God hadn’t just decided to try and help us sort ourselves out and come back to Him in our own bad timing. No, God had decided to save us from our mess by taking it from us and bearing it Himself.

So then the infinite, perfect God decided to step into the finite world we had messed up, and become one of us;

No less God than He ever has been, but yet still fully human. So this god-man Jesus takes our sinful, burdensome mess, suffers the painful and lonely death it would cause us, and fights the Hell we’d all end up in for it. And he conquers it. Dead in body as anyone ever has been, He breathed again after three days in eternal victory.

And all along the way he had been calling people, like you and I, to decide to follow Him, and be taught by Him, and represent this Kingdom of radical love He would go away to start building for us.

In fact, He’s still is calling us. And as if that wasn’t enough He gave us a Church and its leaders to guide us, Sacraments to help us live out the faith, and the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us along the road.

“That’s all well and good,…” you might say, “But what’s it got to do with me?”

A good question; and I would offer to you that like the reaction some people have reading my shirt, each of us has a decision of how we react to the Gospel each time we’re presented with it. We could either view it as a negative, and reject it, view it as good news and accept it, or we can try to ignore it and hope we’ll figure it all out later, which is just another form of rejection.

That’s where I was with as a teenager. I believed what the Bible said was true, I believed God probably did love me like that and all, but I just hadn’t decided to do anything with it yet. It was a problem for another time. And in the meantime I was just wandering aimlessly, unsure of what I was really doing, or who I even was sometimes.

And that’s not the place any of us are made to be in.

But then one summer a family friend put it to me bluntly, we were sitting chatting and he asked “Jacob, why aren’t you a Christian yet?” Over the course of the next while he showed me something I had never thought before. We have to make a decision to make a decision about the Gospel.

Because if we don’t make a decision, we’re actually deciding to do nothing with what we’re being offered.

Not making a decision helps us even less

We put ourselves an impasse, we can’t go one way or the other. Instead we’re just going where everyone else around us is taking us to.

Doesn’t sound so free or self-aware does it?

Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, I’m already a Christian. I’m off the hook. I’ve made my decision.” Choosing to believe in the gospel is the first and more important step, but then each subsequent day we also have a decision to make—will we choose to let the gospel impact our lives? Will we live like the gospel is true? Again, we’re at a crossroads. Living like the gospel is true is what Jesus meant when He said to “Abide in my love.” (John 15:9) We abide in the power of the gospel when we consciously choose to seek God and let Him transform our day-in and day-out lives. When we look to Christ’s shed blood to free us from the burden we feel every day to measure up and be good enough to save ourselves.

You see, the power gospel doesn’t end when we decide to accept it. In fact, that’s when it’s just getting started. The Good News becomes the best news that gets us out of bed every morning and impacts our lives from top to bottom.You see, the power gospel doesn’t end when we decide to accept it. In fact, that’s when it’s just getting started. The Good News becomes the best news that gets us out of bed every morning and impacts our lives from top to bottom. Click To Tweet

What Love is it, that would see us in a mess we made ourselves, by believing the lies of an enemy, come down and offer us a way out of it all and a promise of hope for the future, see us reject that offer or do nothing with it, yet continue to offer it to us anyway? Now is as good a time as any to accept it, a time to make a decision to make a decision. Today is as good a day as any to abide in Christ’s love—and let the gospel keep working on our hearts.

That’s what I did, and it’s led me to all sorts of crazy and wonderful places, sometimes scary places. Place like this, out writing and wearing a shirt that talks all about this Gospel.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Jacob T. Murphy

is a 21-year-old writer and web-developer from Northern Ireland. Throughout his life, he has had many labels applied to him by other people. But Jacob is always learning that God calls him to higher things in Christ, and loves walking with a Savior who always has deeper love for him than he could ever know.

Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →