Practice What You Preach
According to author Jerry Bridges, we need to “preach the gospel to ourselves everyday”
In chapter 1, I stated that the typical evangelical paradigm is that the gospel is for unbelievers and the duties of discipleship are for believers. But the gospel is for believers also, and we must pursue holiness, or any other aspect of discipleship, in the atmosphere of the gospel. To do that, however, we must firmly grasp what the gospel is and what it means in practical terms to preach it to ourselves everyday.
What does it mean to do this? I asked a group of sports ministers recently.
Here are some of their answers:
“Preaching the Gospel to myself – To be honest I haven’t thought of this idea…But the idea of preaching the Gospel to myself daily…. I actually think this is a strong need for me personally. “
“My first response is ‘Bob come on. I am trying to get things done to go on vacation and here is one more thing to deal with. I don’t have time for this.’ After I look again at my sinful heart, I realize that this is an opportunity to reflect and check in with how I am doing. How I am really doing? Preaching the gospel to myself every day is a step back from the busyness of the day and moment to grasp the greatness of God and how He has chosen me to be part of His story. I realize that God is redeeming me as he is using my hands, feet, mouth, etc. to help redeem others by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am so amazed that he uses me as a sinful and broken man. I realize that God loves me where I am, but He continues to change me into His image.”
“Funny, my response was the same – vacationing tomorrow. The Gospel ties it all together on why I do what I do or why I am what I am and the rest is pocket change.”
“So what does it mean to preach the gospel to myself every day? This is a lot easier to say than to do. I think a big reason it is so difficult to preach the gospel to myself can be read in Bob’s blog post – Why it is so hard to see our flaws. I can’t see my biggest flaws and what makes this worse is I am too prideful to invite someone in and ask them to show me where I am weak. Since I don’t acknowledge my flaws, I don’t allow the gospel to take root in those areas. So I live each day comfortably, not seeing my need for the gospel to transform me into the image of Jesus. Practically speaking, it means I allow the gospel to speak to every part of my life. I allow Jesus to reconcile my brokenness, and I open myself to however He would use me as an ambassador for Him to reconcile the world to Himself.”
For me to preach the gospel to myself everyday means
– To remember The Story I “have fallen into” and the four chapters of The Story – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation – and thinking about the truths for each of those chapters
– To remember The Author of The Story, this Generous Outpourer and His love for me and creation – letting His heart move my heart
– To remember the reality that He has given me a unique role in His Story as “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand”
This is certainly not all it means but for me it is the beginning of what it means.
Preaching these truths transform me and keep me from being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1,2).
What does it mean to you to preach the gospel to yourself everyday?