Oftentimes in ministry, we fail to see two interdependent streams that serve as edifying agents for one another.

In the inner city, many godly and well-intentioned servants come to the city with a built-in “messiah complex.” Though well-intentioned, this mindset carries an aura of superiority and self-righteousness. It resists the Gospel that Paul describes in Philippians 3:9 when he says, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law but that which comes from faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

When we assume our lives bring more to the table based on good choices, sound integrity, hard work, sincere pursuit of holiness, sterling reputation or a myriad of other very noble attributes, we have nullified the Gospel and diluted our impact. We also have missed out on the opportunity to be helped in our journey toward maturity.

In like manner, there are many (but not all, probably not even most) potential servants within the inner city who have been overwhelmed by the allure of fatalism disguised in false bravado. Paul says “their glory is in their shame” (Philippians 3:19) However these servants have the hidden treasure of Christ planted within their hearts.

We must combat the unrighteousness of worldliness, but we also must oppose the unrighteousness of self-righteousness. Our paddles may look radically different, but we are rowing in the same boat—desperately in need of the Gospel of grace.

Redeemed from the ash heap,
Anthony Gordon

Note: For deeper study into this topic, see:
The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns
A Loving Life by Paul Miller

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