Cultivating My Life

The Ways I Want My Life To Look, And The Truth Of The Gospel

This past weekend, my husband and I went on a one-night marriage retreat. There was a lot of material that was covered, but there was one lesson that stuck out to me.

About if our marriages are an advertisement of the Gospel.

Hmmmm… how many times do I want our marriage, well my life in general, to look good? But that isn’t the truth, and my marriage looking good isn’t the Gospel. My life looking good isn’t the Gospel.

And in what ways do I want my life to look good? Well, let me tell you.

How I Want My Life To Look…

I want it to look like “I got this”, and make it seem like I am strong enough to handle what life throws at me. To make it appear that there are no hardships to endure. To make it look like I can be my own savior. I want to be able to see what is ahead, and know that it is good. And sadly, I want God to answer my prayers in my timing, so I don’t have to “hope” that He will come through as He promises, and that having faith is easy.

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What I want and what I know are two different things. This isn’t what I know to be true, and this certainly isn’t the Gospel.

I shared in last month’s post, and my post from December that we had a tough few weeks in the Fall. I was angry at God, and asked Him “Why?” a lot. Like a lot. I was tired of being in that state, and I was pretty broken.

The Truth Is, Life Is Hard…

I was sitting with my friend and she asked me how my quiet time was going. And I said that it wasn’t. I had stopped reading my Bible. And it wasn’t because I didn’t need it. I sure did. But I stopped reading it because I know what it says. And honestly, I just didn’t like what it said as much as I was angry at God, and as much as I didn’t like my place of being.

I didn’t want to read that life was going to be hard. I didn’t want to read Do not be afraid,” because well I was. I didn’t want to read be “strong and courageous,” and I surely didn’t want to read that I was in need of a Savior, because it didn’t seem like I was being saved. It felt like God was playing a giant joke on us.

A Lesson From Lazarus

I was reading today in the book of John where Lazarus has died. You can read the full story in John 11, but when Jesus first hears that Lazarus is sick, He says “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the Son’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it”, and then later tells His disciples that they need to go back to Judea where Lazarus is.

And this is where they begin to question Jesus. In the disciple’s defense, the Jews tried to stone Him in Judea. The question of “Why” was of course at the forefront of their thinking. But Jesus stands firm and says “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

Of course, they respond to Him that if Lazarus sleeps, he will feel better, even though Jesus wasn’t speaking of resting, He was speaking of death.

Do I Need To Cultivate My Life?

Now Jesus is going to lay it out there for the disciples “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Why… If… But…

So, they go to Judea and Martha comes to meet them. At this point Lazarus has died, and Martha says to Jesus “if you had been here, he wouldn’t have died.” Jesus assures her that her brother will rise again, but she still doesn’t understand. She knows who Jesus is, but she doesn’t understand. I imagine she was asking the question “Why?” too.

And then Mary comes along. She also says to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” He sees her and others weeping, and is deeply moved and troubled, and then asks where he has been laid.

And then more questioning… (I am really paraphrasing this… seriously read John 11)

“Could not he open the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Take away the stone? “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there for 4 days.”

Can you hear yourself in these statements? They sound a lot like me.

I don’t understand…




But Jesus. “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

And then He calls Lazarus out of the grave and says “take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11: 25-26

What The Gospel Looks Like

This is Gospel. The dead coming to life, because they believe in Jesus. So, what should our lives were advertisements for the Gospel?

It would look like…

  • …following where He leads, even with it is hard, and even when where He leads doesn’t make sense.
  • …persevering when it’s hard, and when we don’t understand.
  • …walking in faith, opposed to believing in what seems to be true, for the sake of love.
  • …trusting what He says verses what the world says is true.
  • …enduring through all the seasons. Uncertainty, questions, and even death. Because on the other side is resurrection.
  • …taking of the things off that would clothe someone in a grave.
  • …believing what He says is true, at His first word.

What About You?

We would love to hear from you! What makes it hard for you to believe, and what makes you keep going when it is hard?

What makes it hard for you to believe, and what makes you keep going when it is hard? Click To Tweet

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This post is an edited excerpt from An Easter Devotional by Heather Hart, Valerie Riese, and Jessica Schneider. For more encouragement for the Easter season, pick up your copy from


  1. I don’t find it hard to believe, but I do find it hard to focus or think about faith when burdens are extra heavy. This is when I need to lean even further into the Lord’s sovereignty. Thank you for your encouraging post.

  2. It would look like persevering. That one really spoke to me. It’s so easy to give up on the things we KNOW we are called to simply because they’re hard. We feel ill-equipped and unqualified. But regardless, we have to understand that it’s Christ at work IN US, not our own works, that are going to make waves for His glory and kingdom. So we persevere for His cause. We are lead by His cause, not our comfort.

  3. Jessica, this is real life. Messy, broken, and totally not we want, but then Jesus! Just like that. Sometimes He takes us through those dark places so that we can be real with real people, because let’s face it. Everyone is going through something, no matter how put together they look. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  4. Oh my heat can relate so much. I want it to look like I’ve got it all together but the reality is I am a Hot Mess. When I admit that and let God come fix it He is glorified… Oh Why can’t I just be okay with that!?!?!?

  5. I love how God desires us to be active participants in our faith. God could simply just answer, but somehow He always leads us into being active in our faith by making us ask questions or allowing us to go through something to grow, learn and appreciate what He has done. I don’t always appreciate the lesson at the time as much as looking back and seeing what God has done and how He truly has cultivated my spirit. Sometimes, it isn’t just for us, but the people around us. When Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, I have often wondered what would have happened if the people were not there to help him remove His graveclothes or ran away in fear. They became active participants of faith and God allowed them to see death turn back into life!

  6. The biggest way my life looks like the Gospel is “persevering when it’s hard, and when we don’t understand.”. Not because I’m so righteous, or so holy, but because through much of my life circumstances I have had no choice. But whenever I come out the other side, I can look back and praise God for making me stronger.

  7. I love your pictures of truth you give in this post of what our lives look like when we allow for the gospel to be alive and living in our lives. We are able to endure suffering and receive hope. We are able to have sorrow and receive joy. We may have an illness but persevere when Jesus is our strength! Praise God for what he is able to do when we have trouble in this world.

  8. Thank you for being so beautifully honest, Jessica! I know how I want my life to look, but I’m realizing more and more that when all I have is faith in the middle of messes, my life reflects the gospel much more purely.

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