What is the “me-centered” gospel? It takes a bit to identify it, since it’s so prevalent in the West.

The me-centered gospel makes a subtle shift at its foundation about what—rather, who—is at the center of the gospel message. Well, it seems subtle. It’s actually a fundamental, seismic relocation. Jesus is removed from the center and is replaced by…you.

You have a destiny. God has a destiny for you.

You have a purpose. God has a purpose for you.

You can have your best life now.

Me-centered preachers tell us how we can live a blessed and happy life. They will show us, in His word, how to do that. So, with out-of-context verses thrown in, we learn from our pastors how God wants to help you be all you can be.

He’s kind of a handy helper sort of God.

But let me tell you what our “purpose” is. Our purpose is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strengths. Our purpose, in that love, is to follow Jesus sacrificially, even perhaps at the cost of our own lives.

Our “destiny” is to follow Jesus, admitting our inability and weakness that are results of our sinful, fallen condition.

Our “best life now” is to follow Jesus and love Him more than we love ourselves and anything else in this world.

How do you do that?

I’m not gonna tell ya. We’d like to have a six point way to do this, wouldn’t we? No, the answer is in Him, and I must seek Him to find it.

Does God want you to have a good life? Yes. But that “good” life is centered in the loving, sacrificial pursuit of Jesus. That pursuit may take you straight into the face of death itself, not to your “best life now.”

Now, there is truth here, certainly, that the Lord has a purpose and destiny for people. But please, using Scripture, show me how that is God’s ultimate purpose. Please tell us how we need a crucified and risen Savior to have a purpose in life. Please explain to us how we need a crucified and risen Savior to have a successful life. The world is full of people who have purposeful, successful lives who don’t have a clue who Jesus is.

The gospel tells us that we have a Savior who died for us because we had, in our blind and rebellious sinfulness, rejected Him. We were poor, miserable and naked and didn’t even know it. Dead, and we didn’t even know it. We deserved to be punished for scorning Him, but Jesus took that punishment upon Himself.

Is God’s primary goal for us to have a great life, filled with purpose? Well, what purpose did Jesus’ disciples have? All of the Eleven, except John, died as martyrs. How is that for a blessed and happy life? What was Stephen’s “best life now”?

How does this “gospel” fly in India or China? What kind of “destiny” does God have for a converted Dalit (untouchable)? Let me tell you the unvarnished truth here, but it is one the New Testament promotes: the Dalit’s “purpose” is doing his best to share Jesus with those he knows, most probably working at a very difficult, unsavory job and then, heaven.

What is the best life now for a Muslim who converts to Christianity? Being killed by your own family is a probable outcome.

What kind of “best life now” does God have for a Christian who is dying of cancer?

Being a Christian is simple. Love Jesus with all of your heart. Follow Him wherever He leads. Simple, but not easy. It’s not easy because it’s about Him, not about you, and if we truly want to know Him, it will entail the loss of our own life.