“Preach the Gospel to Yourself” — Some of the wisest words I have ever heard!
I first came across the idea of preaching to myself a couple of years ago while reading The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney.
Preaching to yourself, according to Jerry Bridges in his book, The Discipline of Grace, is the act of continually facing up to your own sinfulness and then fleeing to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.
Why on earth would I need to preach to myself?
- I am so easily distracted and prone to losing focus. I need continual reminding that the Gospel is of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3).
- I am prone to falling into the comparison trap.
- I talk to myself ALL. THE. TIME., and much of my inner-talk is self-defeating and full of lies. (In fact, did you know that according to John Bradshaw in his book, Healing the Shame That Binds You, the average healthy human mind has 25,000 hours of toxic tapes playing?)
- I am a pro at throwing the grandest of pity parties.
- I am commanded to discipline my mind, to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
I need to preach to myself because I need to be reminded DAILY of the importance and the power of the Gospel. It is essential that I engage in this preemptive work each morning and frequently throughout my day –feeding my soul, remembering the finished work of Jesus on the cross, reminding myself that He alone is enough. Without this daily immersion in the truth of the gospel I WILL lose focus. I will be easily knocked about by life’s disappointments and “out of the blue” circumstances.
I need to preach to myself because I talk to myself. And often that talk is unhealthy, even destructive — full of Satan’s lies.
“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? –Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Spiritual Depression
When I find myself listening to unhealthy inner dialogue, it is imperative that I stop, recognize the thought for what it is, and immediately begin to preach biblical truth to myself. The discipline of preaching truth to myself in response to destructive self-talk enables me to take “every thought captive” and walk in gospel power.
TRUTH IS: There are not many things over which I have any control. But… I do have the power to control my thoughts and my words.
“No one is more influential in your life than you are. Because no one talks to you more than you do.” —Paul Tripp
Developing a daily habit of preaching to yourself is crucial. Our self-talk is often full of lies which bring us to a place of shame and defeat. An undisciplined mind running rampant with this destructive inner-dialogue can cause unspeakable damage. Disciplining our minds to preach the truth of the gospel (rather than continuing to listen), will help us take captive those unhealthy thoughts and walk in gospel power.