I can’t remember the last time I heard someone tell Christians to, “preach the Gospel to yourself.” This phrase, which was everywhere four or five years ago, seems to be disappearing from the scene. This is unfortunate because Christians need to hear the Gospel every day and consistently remind themselves of it. The good news that Jesus died in our place and was raised from the dead to bring us back to God through faith alone in his name never grows old and never stops giving us constant encouragement.
Here are several reasons we need to hear this news every day.
Every Day We are Tempted by Pride.
Christians often face the twin temptations of pride and despair. The root of pride is our desire to justify ourselves by our own good works. Some days we either are more consistent in our obedience to God or lower his standards in our own minds so that we can feel better about our obedience. Either way, when we are convinced of our own goodness we begin to be puffed up with pride which drives us to a sinful self-sufficiency. Then because of our pride in our performance we mistreat others who don’t obey as well as we think we do.
The good news of Jesus’ death on the cross opens our eyes to our desperate need for God’s grace by reminding us that we were in such a dire situation that Jesus had to die for us to bring us back to God. This undercuts our tendency to trust in our own supposed goodness and causes us to remember that we have no righteousness other than that which comes from Jesus. These twin truths of Jesus’ death for us and the righteousness that we receive only by faith crucifies our pride and causes humility to grow in our lives.
Every Day We are Tempted to Despair
Despair is closely related to pride because they are both rooted in our attempts to earn God’s favor through our own efforts. Pride comes in when we think we are performing well. Despair raises its ugly head when we have failed. It causes us to be frustrated with ourselves because we aren’t living up to the standard that we think we should achieve.
The Gospel encourages us by reminding us that God’s grace covers our every failure. No string of obedient days would bring us closer to God and no streak of bad days is going to condemn us. Jesus gladly gave his life for us because of the love he, the Father, and the Spirit have for us. We can be encouraged out of our despair because we are loved, not on the basis of our good works, but because of the love of God and Jesus’ perfect life and death.
Every Day We are Tempted to Sin
We live in a world where we are at war every day with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our own sinful flesh tempts us to give in to our passions instead of exercising self-control and walking in holiness. The world throws the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in our direction at a dizzying pace. It constantly tells us that the path of truth and holiness is the path for suckers and the path of unrestrained self-fulfillment is the way of life. The temptation to believe this lie can be overwhelming. The devil knows our greatest weakness and pokes at them every day. This evil master-strategist tempts us in a myriad of ways, and none of them come at us with flashing lights to warn us of the impending danger.
Basking in the truths of the Gospel every day helps us to fight against our temptations to sin. The death of Jesus reminds us that our sin cost Jesus his life, and we do not want to walk in that which Jesus died for. Furthermore, his death stands as a powerful testimony to the death that our old self died when we came to him. His resurrection shines a light on the new life that we have through him. Just as he was raised from the dead never to die again, we have been raised from the dead to walk in newness of life. We don’t have to walk in slavery to sin anymore because we are new people through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Every Day We are Tempted to Fear
If you live in the U.S., you have seen unprecedented cultural hand-wringing taking place in our culture. At every turn believers in Christ are buying into the narratives of fear being pushed in our direction. We are convinced that impending cultural decay or religious persecution will come flying in with the election of the wrong candidate. Then add to this the fears we face in our own personal lives related to our families, our work, our finances, and our relationships. Fear lies around every corner, waiting to shackle us to its heavy weight.
“Perfect love casts out fear.” The Christian, of all people in the world, has wonderful resources for walking in confidence instead of fear. Because we are justified before God and adopted into his family, we have the confidence to enter into the very presence of God to present our requests to him. We have the knowledge that we have been adopted into God’s family and are his children who will inherit a glorious future in Christ. Because we belong to the Lord and have this incredible future hope, why should we ever be crippled by fear? Jesus died to defeat the devil and liberate us from the fear he uses to keep us in bondage, so let us learn to walk in this glorious freedom we have because through the Gospel.
How We Remind Ourselves of the Gospel Every Day
We need to remember the Gospel so that we are moved away from pride, despair, sin, and fear and instead walk in humility, confidence, holiness and hope, we must bathe ourselves in the word of God each day. This means prioritizing reading Scripture, memorizing Scripture, and meditating on Scripture. As we read the Bible faithfully we will see individual verses or larger sections we need to commit to memory. Then, as we commit these passages to memory we will have the word of God stored up in our hearts so that we can meditate on it throughout the day.
Meditating on Scripture builds a bridge into prayer. As we have seen truths that humble us, comfort us, help us grow in holiness, or that give us hope we can pray through the temptations and struggles we face with each of these issues. If you are tempted to pride, pray that the Lord would humble you under his mighty hand. When you are tempted to despair, ask the Lord to help you realize the great love that he has for you. As you experience the temptation to sin, call upon the Lord and ask him that through his spirit he might give you the strength to withstand temptation and walk in holiness. On the days when you find yourself tempted to live in fear, pray that the Lord would give you a real sense of the great hope that you have in him.
Also, take the time to read good Christian books that shed greater light on what the Scripture teaches us about the Gospel message. Read works like The Cross of Christ, Gospel Wakefulness, Knowing God, or Redemption Accomplished and Applied will help you to see truths in the Scripture you have never seen before or to understand how these truths shape your heart and change your life.
Every Christian needs the Gospel every single day. Do everything you can to get this life changing message drilled down deep into your heart and mind.
“Why You Need to Read the Whole Bible Every Year“
For Further Reading:
Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson
The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson