Originally published Monday, 20 January 2014.
You can be a preacher.
Yes, you absolutely can be! Regardless of the job you work--whether administrative or janitorial or instructive or domestic--and regardless of how deeply you think your theology runs, you must preach.
And you must preach the gospel to yourself.
Our reality is that life is full of ups and downs. I was just in conversation earlier about how distinctly we can categorize certain seasons of life according to their circumstantial and spiritual make-up: one of trials and one of struggles, one of blessings and one of joys.
Christian woman, you know that the season you are now enduring, this very second, will not last forever. Seasons are temporary. Consider this: if we temper our reactions to the season based on the season, itself, then our hearts are in for one tumultuous ride.
This is why we must all be preachers, and preach the gospel to ourselves faithfully. Because while everything else shifts and changes in our lives, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ stays the same. And if we temper our reactions to these varied seasons based on the Word and the gospel, then what a steadfastness will be cultivated in our hearts and minds! What a hope we will continue to have in Christ!
I love how Jerry Bridges puts it when he writes, "So in order to experience the subjective reality of our justification we must every day look outside of ourselves to Christ." The good news--that Jesus humbly came to earth in human form, lived a sinless life, died willingly in our place and then resurrected to life eternal--extends far beyond our initial conversion to belief in Christ...
...The gospel of Jesus is our daily, ongoing, relevant good news! And it applies to each and every situation, circumstance and emotion we experience.
Understanding how the gospel speaks into our lives is not always easy; I find it hard to connect the dots sometimes, especially when I feel blinded by heavy emotions. But there are some great ways to process through gospel truth and application: through journaling, prayer or talking it out loud with a trusted companion.
So how do we preach the gospel to ourselves in a practical sense?
Meditate on the Lord. "Bless the Lord, O my soul! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent" (Psalm 104:1-2). We remember the magnificent greatness of our God. Because Christ is Lord, it means He rules His creation with steadfast faithfulness and righteous justice. He is very great!
Meditating on God's character and His perfection will very quickly put our lives in perspective: we are wholly dependent on Him for life and breath and everything. We are the Lord's. No season has come upon us that has not been ordained by the Lord Almighty, and therefore, we remember that we can look to Him for help and hope.
Recognize our battles. "I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart" (Psalm 38:8). In light of the Lord's greatness, we see our feeble weakness and how limited are our capacities, in body, mind and spirit. We also see in His light how glaring our sins are. I love how honestly David recognizes his darkness and need in Psalm 38: "My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness...there is no soundness in my flesh."
Whether weightiness or sin, the opportunity is ever before us to pour out our hearts to Him. Certain life seasons may bring about weeping and grieving, and all should bring about confession. Whatever we endure, we are incapable of moving forward alone, on our own strength. We can lay bare our needs before Him.
Remember your Savior. "Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine" (Psalm 33: 18-19). God sent a Deliverer in His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from death, itself. Christ has overcome the world! How much more will He be our Savior in every circumstance?
Now, this does not mean that He will necessarily save us from our circumstances, but that He will give us a steadfast hope in Himself. After all, we did nothing to earn grace--it was given according to His own abundant mercy. Because we know Christ as our Hope, we are freed from hoping in people or circumstances, both of which will never satisfy our deepest longings for joy and security. Preach to yourself that Christ is your blessed hope (Titus 2:13) who will be with you always!
Bask in your new identity. "So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7). The truth is that our Savior made us right with the Father, and therefore, we are part of a new eternal family. Our hearts have been renewed to desire heavenly things, and we are now saints of light.
When you preach the gospel to yourself, remind yourself of who you are! Chosen, called, regenerated, justified, adopted, sanctified--completely approved in the Lord's sight. Dwelling on the truth of our identity--though the world, the flesh, and the enemy would tempt us to think otherwise--shifts our perspective away from earthly matters. We let heaven fill our thoughts and praise God for adopting us into His family!
So grab a notebook, grab a wise friend, grab a quiet place--and consider how wonderfully the gospel speaks into your current situation. The gospel is "good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)" (Acts 10:36).
Gracious Father, Thank You for the gospel! You are Lord, and we confess our need for You always. Help us to stay focused on what You have made possible in Christ. Give us insight and wisdom to apply the gospel to our every day situations. May we rejoice in Your grace as a result! We love You and worship You.
[Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net]