It was Jerry Bridges, who passed away recently, whose book taught me: preach the Gospel to yourself every day. [The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges].
You may be like I was as a young Christian; continually questioning whether I measured up to God’s standards for holiness, and whether I would make it into Heaven.
I did not realise that my Christian walk relied on Christ and his sacrifice, not on my performance as a Christian!
Yes, we must acknowledge our sin, but we relate to God through the blood and righteousness of Christ, not through our own merits.
Wow, what a change and relief when I found that out!
Bobbie Carlyle sculpted a statue of a man called ‘Self Made Man’. The vision of ‘Self Made Man’ is a man carving himself out of stone, carving his own character, carving his own future.
Bobbie Carlyle: Self Made Man
This is often reminiscent of us as Christians.
We want to carve out our own lives. We take what we think are the tools of spiritual transformation into our own hands and try to sculpt ourselves into Christian specimens.
However, spiritual transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit.
He is the Master Sculptor.
It means you believe He forgave you all your sins (Col 2:13) and now “[presents] you holy and blameless and above reproach before him”, (Col 1:22 ESV).
But, note: the discipline of being a disciple of Christ requires continuous, robust effort on our part. We must not be lazy, apathetic or halfheartedly committed. We must have no indifferent attitude towards sin!
Consider two different days in your life:
- Day One- Good one spiritually: You have an opportunity to share the gospel with someone
- Day Two- Bad one spiritually: You have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone
Would you feel more confident on day one than on day two?
If you choose day one, this reveals your reliance on works for your salvation rather than on God’s grace in Christ.
God’s blessing does not depend on our performance, but on His grace in our lives.
“Any time we bask in God’s mercy and grace is our highest moment, higher than when we feel good about our great performance and cannot think of anything we need to confess” (Jerry Bridges).
Remember Gal 6:14: But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Are we willing to rely on God’s grace alone, instead of our performance, to boast in nothing except the Cross? If so, we can stop living in our good day/bad day scenarios and bask every day in the grace of God!
You see, preaching the gospel to myself, as a believer, means I remind myself daily to rely on Christ’s sacrifice, not on anything I can do.
Remember this as you preach the gospel to yourself every day:
- My salvation is through Christ’s sacrifice for my sin
- I live in the grace of God
- My performance does not change the grace of God
- God has forgiven my sin
- I am able to look forward to my walk with God every day because of Christ.
Let’s remember the sculpture of Self Made Man, and make sure we not engaging in a self-help, self making of our Christian lives!
What else engages us in preaching the gospel to ourselves? Please comment below.
Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (1994), Navpress.