Incarnate the gospel

By Dave Henning / December 27, 2016

“It’s relatively easy to pontificate on how to live the gospel; it’s infinitely harder to incarnate the gospel in your life.”- Ann Voskamp

“When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”- Mark 6:34 (ESV)

As Ann Voskamp continues Chapter 17 of The Broken Way, she first discusses the phrase “had compassion on them.”  Ann notes this phrase appears in Scripture only in regard to Jesus and the Father.  In addition, that phrase- splanchizomai in the Greek- refers to getting kicked in the gut.

Therefore, Ann writes, “when Christ’s people feel compassion like Christ did , and they feel the strike in the stomach — they feel the pain in the deepest places.”  Furthermore, Christ’s people hurt, bend over, reach down, and reach out.  As a result, their lives shape into the cross of Christ- cruciform.

Next, Ms. Voskamp lists some characteristics of compassion.  Compassion:

  • shapes your body, your life into a response
  • is a radical cross-shaping of a life
  • consists of the word parts com (“together”) and pati (“to suffer”)
  • consists of co-passion, co-suffering

However, Ann wonders, why does condemnation flow so quick in our veins, while compassion moves sluggishly slow?  Thus, Ann describes a potential consequence:

“When faith loses its compassion, it’s co-suffering — it cohosts demons.”

In conclusion, Ms. Voskamp observes that there’s no direct correlation between the good behavior of others and our compassion.  Rather, “it’s our compassion that serves good to all people.”  Put another way, we must change ourselves to find compassion in our world.

Today’s question: How hard have you found it to incarnate the gospel in your own life following your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Generous in sharing our brokenness”

About the author

Dave Henning

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