And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col. 1:21-23)
Do you find your life is often an emotional roller coaster? Is your perspective dependent on the trials or blessings your’e currently experiencing? That’s not God’s intention. He wants us to remain "stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel." How can we not shift from the hope of the Gospel? By preaching the Gospel to ourselves daily.
"Preaching the Gospel to yourself" is a phrase I first ran across in The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, and have observed for years in the life of my good friend, C.J. Mahaney. C.J. has written persuasively, biblically, and practically on this topic in his new book, Living the Cross Centered Life. I’d recommend it to every Christian. He says:
Reminding oursevles of the Gospel is the most important daily habit we can establish. If the gospel is the most vital news in the world, and if salvation by grace is the defining truth of our existence, we should create ways to immerse ourselves in these truths every day. No days off allowed.
Do you ever take a day off from the Gospel? Is it more precious to you than the day you were converted? It should be. But it’s not uncommon for Christians to think that the Gospel is only for unbelievers, or new believers. We tend to mentally check out when a preacher starts to explain what Jesus’ death on the cross means or when we sing a song about the Gospel. In doing so, we cut ourselves off from the foundation of our faith, the means of our strength, and the substance of our joy.
In his outstanding book When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper writes:
Far too many Christians are passive in their fight for joy. They tell me about their condition of joylessness, and I ask about the kinds of strategies they have pursued to defeat this enemy, and they give the impression that they are a helpless victim: ‘Joylessness is just there. What can I do?’ Well, God does not mean for us to be passive. He means for us to fight the fight of faith- the fight for joy. And the central strategy is to preach the gospel to yourself. (p. 81)
Later on, he adds:
Here in the cross is where every enemy of joy is overcome: divine wrath, as he becomes a curse for us; real guilt, as he becomes forgiveness for us; lawbreaking, as he becomes righteousness for us; estrangement from God, as he becomes reconciliation for us; slavery to Satan, as he becomes redemption for us; bondage to sin, as he becomes liberation for us; pangs of conscience, as we becomes cleansing for us; death, as the becomes the resurrection for us; hell, as he becomes eternal life for us. (p. 91)
Don’t take a day off from preaching the Gospel to yourself. Let this be your first thought when you wake up, your last thought as you drift off to sleep, and in view throughout your day:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. (1 Tim. 1:15)
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Cor. 9:15)