I think that the greatest thing that any Christian can do to encourage himself in trials is to preach the Gospel to himself. The Gospel isn’t just for the lost to hear in order to be saved. Christians need to hear the Gospel as well on a regular basis. This is the one thing that encourages me the most. I enjoy going to meetings and being encouraged, and I enjoy good fellowship with brothers in Christ, but there are times in our lives when we are unable to go to some red hot revival to get encouraged. There are times when we are unable to be around others and be encouraged by them. So we need to learn how to proclaim the Gospel to ourselves. You may ask why is this important.
- You are the most influential person in your life. That sounds a bit strange, but think about it. You speak to yourself more than any one else speaks to you. This is why it is imperative that your life is rooted and centered in the Gospel, and why on a daily basis you should be sharing the Gospel with yourself. If you are like me you start to feel sorry for yourself, then you start telling yourself how people treat you, and how you deserve better. Be careful what you are telling yourself.
- It reminds us that we are loved. The Gospel is a love story. Better than any love story that Walt Disney, Nicholas Sparks, or Jane Austen could produce. It is the story of how a Holy God loved an unworthy sinner: you. There are times when we feel unloved and uncared for, but there in the Gospel we find that, not only are we loved, but we are loved by the most important person there is. The love that He has for us is unmerited love. He loved us when we were unworthy of His love (we still are) and He loved so much that He died for us. There is nothing that can separate me from this love. Yes, you need to be reminded of this love on a daily basis.
- It reminds us of who were are now in Christ. You see, the Gospel is more than just a story of how we are rescued from hell but it is the story of how we are made into new creatures. I am not the man I used to be. I am tempted to sin, but the Gospel reminds me that that is not who I am anymore. The Gospels declares that, in Christ, I have forgiveness of all sin, and also the power now to live a holy and righteous life. I am often discouraged over what I perceive to be others’ opinions of me; but the Gospel tells me God’s opinion of me. The Gospel declares that I am loved by almighty God, and now because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, I am accepted by God.
This has been the most helpful thing for me in overcoming discouragement in my life. Modern-day self-help gurus will tell you to be careful what story or narrative you are telling yourself because that will be what you eventually become. There is no better story to tell yourself than the one found in the Gospel. Go share the Gospel with others today, but before you do, tell the old, old story to yourself.
“I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest. And when in scenes of glory I sing the new, new song, Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.”
This post is part 11 in the series “Answering Vision” and is taken from the panel discussion questions from the missions conference at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta GA. You can read the last post in this series here.