"The New Testament teaches that Christians ought to hear the gospel as much as non-Christians do. Re-preaching the gospel and then showing how it appled to life was Paul's choice method for ministering to believers, thereby providing a divinely inspired pattern for me to follow when ministering to myself and to other believers." ~Milton Vincent
There are so many issues in life. Pride, selfishness, lack of love, grief, depression, discontentment, guilt, and the list goes on. People have written stacks upon stacks of book on each of these subjects, teaching us ways to overcome, deal with, and change these issues. Lately, I've come to realize more and more that while I could try to help this issue, then that issue, this problem, and then that one, the best I can truly do for anyone is to preach the gospel to them.
For example, when I am tired and feeling empty, I preach the gospel. I tell myself of how I have always been a failure, I was never good enough to begin with, but God so loved me that Jesus died for me, redeemed me, and turned everything I am into a story of victory. By remembering the gospel in this area, I am reminded that my skills and my abilities were never a part of the actual equation; Jesus has given me everything, and He will continue to do so.
Another example: when I am afraid to speak out, I preach the gospel. I remind myself of how when I was hopelessly, desperately lost, Jesus stepped in and chose me for Himself. Not only chose me, but died on a cross to pay for my unpayable debt. He rose again to justify me and conquer every power of hell. In doing so, He freed me from all fear of God's wrath, all fear of life's circumstances, and all fear of man's opinions because I am secure in His love and His eternal promise of Heaven. With all this in mind, I realize that I have nothing to lose, and eternity to give to those around me.
And for those things in my life that I don't really know how to identify, I know I can still preach the gospel to them. It is the power of God to those who believe, and its power overcomes the world. Really.
The Gospel. It's all we need. It's everything. It's more than we need. We cannot saturate ourselves in its overwhelming simplicity for too long. Here are a few of my favorite resources for reminding myself of the gospel:
1. The Bible. Oh yeah! But specifically, I love the entire book of John. And Romans. But if you've only got five minutes, go to Romans 8.
2. G.O.S.P.E.L. - It's a 5-minute video of a random black guy with dreds just preaching the gospel for all he's worth. And it gives me goosebumps every time. Watch here.
3. The Gospel Primer - a book by Milton Vincent (quote at the top). Trust me. Just buy it. It's an everyday read.
4. Worship - Some songs in particular truly preach the gospel in their lyrics. My favorites right now include: In Christ Alone, All I Have is Christ, Before the Throne of God Above, and How Deep the Father's Love for Us. Make a playlist!
5. Another video - Found this one this past week, a short drama by Ellerslie. Watch here.
6. A longer video - If you've got more time (please do - realize what you're making time for!), I'd suggest taking one of the many full-length films based on Jesus' life. Over the past few days, I watched "The Gospel of John" for the first time. "The Gospel of Matthew" is another well-done one, and both of these follow the Scriptures word-for-word. I highly recommend "The Passion of the Christ," especially with Easter coming, but it is a film you cannot take lightly. It is rated R, and rightly so. Jesus' death on the cross was horrific, gruesome, and scarring to see. But it was done for me. For me. It's not just a depiction of some terrifying murder, this death is what saved my soul. This film will change your life, so please watch with prayer and forethought. I don't suggest it on a busy day...
7. Prayer - Ask the Holy Spirit to make you ever mindful of what the gospel is, what the gospel means, and what it does in your life. And trust me, He will answer.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes." ~Romans 1:16