I can’t tell you who I heard the phrase, “Preach the gospel to yourself” first. But as a pastor, it has become a mantra I often repeat.
The gospel encapsulates the profound message of Jesus Christ — his identity and purpose. It serves as a constant reminder of our essence apart from Christ, exposing the gravity of our sins and the magnitude of His grace. This transformative message is not just about what Christ came to do but also about who we are becoming through Him.”
Greg Gilbert in his book The Gospel defines it this way, “First the bad news: God is your Judge and you have sinned against him. And then the gospel: but Jesus has died so that sinners may be forgiven of their sins if they will repent and believe in him.”
What do we benefit from preaching the gospel to ourselves:
We see how God is not holding out on you.
God isn’t withholding anything from you. In Christ, we possess an abundance beyond our wildest imaginations. Every spiritual blessing is bestowed upon us (Eph 1:3). The gospel serves as a poignant reminder that Christ sacrificed everything to lavish His blessings upon us.
You reflect on the goodness of God.
In Romans 2:4, we encounter the profound question, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
The gospel serves as a lens that sharpens our focus on God’s goodness. Despite our deserving of condemnation and death, God extends kindness and goodness to us. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death, he stood in our place. Every gift, care, and watchful eye on us are expressions of God’s inherent goodness.
When you preach the gospel to yourself you remind yourself that this life may be hard, but nothing can take away the love of God
Romans 8:38-39 assures us that nothing, not even death, can sever us from the love of God. In John 16:33, the Bible acknowledges that tribulations are inevitable in this life—it’s not a question of if but when. The gospel becomes our beacon, reminding us that this earthly life is not our ultimate destination. With the endurance of Jesus as our inspiration, we find the strength to endure whatever challenges come our way.
Bad circumstances fail in comparison to eternal life in/with Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7-11, the Apostle Paul vividly articulates the trials and tribulations he faced, emphasizing that these challenges pale in comparison to the richness found in Christ.
He eloquently states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
The gospel acts as a poignant reminder of the selfless gift bestowed upon us by Jesus and the unparalleled richness we find in Him. This perspective helps us recognize that our challenging circumstances are overshadowed by the abundance we possess in Jesus.
Consider the inspiring perspective of Joni Eareckson Tada, who, despite enduring the challenges of paralysis since a diving accident at age seventeen, envisions expressing gratitude to Jesus for her wheelchair in heaven:
“I hope I can take my wheelchair to heaven with me—knowing well that it’s not biblically correct. But if I could, I would have my wheelchair right next to me when God gifts me with my new, glorified body. Turning to Jesus, I would say, ‘Lord, do you see that wheelchair? You were right when you said we would face trouble in this world, and that wheelchair brought a lot of trouble! Yet, the weaker I was in it, the harder I leaned on you. The harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. So, thank you for what you did in my life through that wheelchair. And now,’ I always say jokingly, ‘you can send that wheelchair to hell, if you want.'”
When you preach the gospel to yourself no gift can be better than the gift of Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 9:15, the Apostle Paul exclaims, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
Within this passage, Paul conveys to the Corinthian church the importance of generosity. His plea is not coercive but rather a proclamation that as generous people, we reflect the character of our generous God.
The measure of God’s generosity prompts us to ponder: What do we truly deserve, and what does God freely give? The gospel serves as the profound response to these questions. Therefore, let the resounding truth of the gospel be a constant refrain in your life—preach it to yourself!