Friday, July 4, 2008

Preach the Gospel to yourself.

This week I have been reflecting a lot on the past few years of my life. They have been, for me, very formative years. In fact these two years have been among the most stessful of my life. Jesus said that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it cannot bear fruit. What a great image for us to cling to when we feel like the earth is swallowing us.

It is in days like these that I realize how much I need to preach the gospel to myself. Oh, how soon I am to forget! Like the old hymn sings, "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love!" If there is one thing I've learned in the recent years about knowing Christ and growing in grace is that it doesn't come from reading books. It's not from books on theology and spiritual formation/discipline that spiritual growth comes from...it comes through leaning into the gospel and trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ in the midst of everyday hardships and trials. Through the testing of our faith we will know that we are his, and with that knowledge comes confidence and hope and peace and joy and life everlasting.

All of this being said, I'm curious as to how you guys "preach" the gospel to yourself on a daily basis. In your own words, what is the gospel? I love hearing/reading from other people when they speak about the gospel, so please, don't be afraid to be passionate. :)

I'll end with a few quotes I read earlier today that helped spark this email...

"If Christ has borne my punishment, I shall never bear it. Oh what joy there is in this blessed assurance. Your hope that you are pardoned lies in this, that Jesus died. Those dear wounds of His blessed life for you. Now we know that sin crucified Christ. Now we know that we stabbed our heavenly Lover to His Heart. Oh let us bless that dear Son of God who has put away even such sins as ours! Now we see our sins, and yet we do not see it, for God has pardoned it, blotted it out, cast it behind His back forever." - Charles Spurgeon

"The Gospel does not require anything good that man must furnish: not a good heart, not a good disposition, no improvement of his condition, no godliness, no love either of God or men. It issues no orders, but changes man. It plants love into his heart and makes him capable of all good works. It demands nothing, but it gives all. Should not this fact make us leap for joy?" - C.F.W. Walther

****I love reading good theology, don't think I'm knocking reading good Christian scholarship. Read as much as you can. Read some of the bad stuff too...history tends to repeat itself if we're not careful/faithful.