Am I really living a gospel-shaped life?

It was the coldest evening for a while. I hurried up the high street, weaving between the crowds. The scarf hugging my neck caught my short breaths.

I was going to be late.

“Please.” A voice forced its way into my ear. “Somebody help us.”

I whirled my head around to find the person. He was sitting on the ground propped against HMV, someone lying still next to him. He was shouting into the crowds.

“We just need thirty pounds!”

I didn’t break my step – I couldn’t. I was late. I allowed myself to remain one of the many bodies surging past.

But two minutes up the road, the voices in my head caught up with me. I turned back.

“I hope this helps,” I tipped three pounds into his hand. And as I walked away, my conscience eased.

False living

But hang on – was that decision motivated by the right thing? Was it truly gospel-shaped?

No. I made it just because I felt like I should, and nothing more.

I gave him three pounds. And that served me, not him - it satisfied my conscience, fuelled my ego, but didn’t meet his need.

True living

Gospel-driven-me would have acted differently.

If I’d been motivated by what Jesus did for me, I would’ve gone to a cash point, withdrawn forty pounds, pressed it into his hands, sat down with him and explained why.

I would’ve explained I was giving him that money because someone did the same for me – someone once heard my cry for help and provided richly for all my needs: God himself, Jesus.

But in that moment, the gospel was far from my mind.

And it made me wonder: how often am I actually living a gospel-shaped life? And how often do I think I am?