Have you ever heard the phrase, “preach the gospel to yourself?” It’s an oft-repeated phrase that some might qualify as a type of “Christianeze.” You know, those Christian sayings and phrases we hear so often in the church. Yet even many over-used sayings contain important truth, and this is one of them.
What does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself, and why would one want to do that?
The Good News of the Gospel
The gospel is the good news of who Jesus is and what he came to do. It includes the story of his incarnation, his perfect life lived for us, his sacrificial death in our place, his triumphant resurrection from the grave, and his ascension into heaven where he now lives, interceding before the Father on our behalf. These truths of the gospel are essential to our salvation; it is through faith in Christ that we are saved.
But the good news isn’t just for that one moment in time when we received Christ by faith; rather, the gospel is something we need every moment of the day. These truths intersect with our daily life, shaping and transforming how we work, relate to others, and live in this world. They give us hope in the face of hardship, strength in the face of challenges, and certainty as we face the future. They are the truths we turn to when we stumble in sin, when a loved one is suffering, or when we fear the future.
Preaching the gospel to ourselves is simply reminding ourselves of who Jesus is and what he came to do. It is reciting the good news to our heart. We are forgetful people and need constant reminders. Our hearts are prone to wander, and the gospel keeps us anchored. It keeps our gaze fixed on Christ and who he is for us, not on ourselves or the world around us.
Practical Ways to Preach the Gospel
Read and Study Scripture
Primarily, it’s the Bible that teaches us about the gospel. The Old Testament shows us our need for a Savior, and the New Testament tells us who he is and what he did for us. The Gospels are a biography of Jesus’s life; they chronicle his teaching, healing, and preaching. The New Testament epistles unpack the gospel, its meaning, and its significance to our lives. Reading and studying God’s Word helps us to grow in our understanding of the gospel, and our love for our Savior will grow as a result.
Set Your Mind on the Gospel
Throughout our day, we can set our mind on the truths of the gospel. We do this by countering sinful or wayward thoughts with the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done. We speak back to our thoughts with what we’ve learned in God’s Word. When we find ourselves overwhelmed, worried, angry, and so on, we ask ourselves, “What does the gospel say to this?” When the storms of life rain down on us, we look to Christ—our anchor and hope. When we are tempted to sin, we exhort ourselves by reciting the truth of the gospel.
Read Books That Point to the Gospel
Many godly writers point us to Christ. Whether it is a book on theology, a devotional, or a Christian-living book, any book that is rooted in the gospel will encourage and exhort us to live out the gospel in our lives. No book is a substitute for reading Scripture, but books can be of help as a supplement.
Listen to Worship Songs That Sing of the Gospel
We all know the power that music has to calm our hearts. When we listen to music that reminds us of the gospel, we can’t help but worship our Savior. This is particularly helpful when we are overwhelmed by our emotions. Music can reach areas of our hearts that are hard to get to otherwise, and when music lifts high the name of Jesus and praises him for what he has done for us, we are drawn into his presence with thankful hearts.
Pray through the Gospel
Prayer is another way we can preach the gospel to ourselves. As we pray, we can include the gospel in our prayers. Whether it is thanking and praising God for the gift of his Son, appropriating the truths of the gospel in confession for sin, or praying through the hope we have in Christ because of what he has done, we can preach the gospel to ourselves through our prayers.
The gospel is good news. The best news. It is life-transforming news. Dear friend, let’s remember this good news in every moment of our life. Let’s preach it to ourselves over and over so that it becomes our personal anthem, the heartbeat of our faith.
Editors Note: This post contains a partial excerpt from Christina’s new book, Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms.
Christina Fox writes for a number of Christian ministries and publications including True Woman, ERLC, and The Gospel Coalition. Christina also serves on the advisory board at Covenant College and in women’s ministry at her church. She prefers her coffee black and from a French press, enjoys antiquing, hiking, traveling, and reading. She is the author of A Heart Set Free: A Journey Through the Psalms of Lament.