“Preach the gospel to yourself daily.”
If you’ve attended Covenant Fellowship for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard a variation of this statement. It’s certainly a thread running through the fabric of my life as a member of this church. Sadly, even the most wonderful of statements can lose impact if I’m not careful. Needful practices can go by the wayside when I arrogantly approach each day holding my umbrella of self reliance. Then, when it starts pouring, trials rip the umbrella out of my hands, and I’m left looking at the crumbled remains of my “controlled, peaceful life.”
My husband and I have been thrust into a long-term trial that is always present in the back of my mind. I will have moments or days when a wave of grief, doubt, or frustration will rush over me, causing my feelings to dictate my responses and the way I view God. I can begin to doubt His goodness and activity, seeing only the circumstances in front of me.
In this season, I am finding that preaching the gospel to myself has become vital. The reality is that it has always been vital. Every single day, I need to remind myself of truth. My need has not changed because of circumstances; rather, circumstances have simply brought my need into sharp relief. C. S. Lewis says it so well: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
I want to be clear; I do not believe preaching the gospel to ourselves is a band-aid or a way to manufacture a Pollyanna attitude in the teeth of a ridiculously hard trial. Instead, I am coming to understand that it is as necessary as breathing because the gospel keeps my eyes on Christ. When I am reading about Jesus being our Shepherd, I am reminding myself of His love and compassion for me. Jesus’ work on the cross not only solved my need for a Savior; it also shows me that He understands suffering.
God’s truth is an antidote for the bitterness and hopelessness that threaten my soul. I should not–must not–focus on the buts and whys of this situation. To do so would be my undoing. So I read again Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Yes, He is faithful. This wonderful truth anchors my battered soul.