It would be difficult to recollect how many times I have been in conversation with someone on a random topic and…BAM…I am reminded of something I read.
It happens to me a lot and I do not take it for granted, for I know it is God bringing something to mind when I need it.
That is one reason I enjoy reading so much. It is like a digital filing system of thoughts, concepts, and ideas that are available for use at any given time. The fun part is that I do not know when I will need those ideas to use with another person…or myself.
That is the spontaneity of God at times. I just need to keep reading so that I have something relevant to share when it is required of me.
Going to see the fam
About a week ago, I had the privilege of going out to California for my grandmother’s 93rd birthday. What an epic event to be part of! It was good to connect with my mom, sis, grandma, cousins, aunts, and uncles. It had been too long.
On that Sunday I went to church with my cousin and her husband. It reminded me a lot of my own church – full of life, Gospel-centered preaching, pointing to Jesus.
Afterward, I enjoyed a delightful coffee drink at Peet’s Coffee with some of the fam. I cannot even remember what it was, but it was something like a vanilla fat-ioto made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream. Forget you healthy Jamba Juice!
I am still offloading those calories.
During our conversation, God brought to mind a short read that I love recalling: A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent.
I do not know how many times I have read from it, but it continues to impact me with each view and used with others to either discuss one of its gems or make it one of those “Oh, you have to get a copy of this book. Amazing text.”
Reasons to speak the gospel…to myself
If you are like me, there is no lack of activity with my flesh in trying to draw me to “the dark side.” Sorry, but I do not usually wake up each day just chomping at the bit to have my quiet time with God.
My new man desires it for sure, but my flesh is too frequently offering excuses of tiredness or more pressing items to divert me from speaking truth to myself.
I really like the phrase “speaking the gospel to myself” or “speaking truth to myself” because it states with precision my condition: though I am a believer in the gospel and desire to be like Jesus, I do not drift to truth. Meaning, gospel thoughts do not enter my thoughts nearly as often as I would like for them to.
I get derailed, and so what will I do? Will I listen to myself or speak truth to myself?
I need to be intentional in pursuing God and His truth, for His gospel continues to shape me long after I trusted in it for my salvation.
If you are not speaking the gospel to yourself, I guarantee you something is speaking to you. Is it truth?
If you are looking for a gripping resource to help remind you why you need to speak the gospel to yourself each day and how to do it, The Gospel Primer is where you need to begin.
A fresh view of Jesus and His gospel
C.J. Mahaney says it well.
The gospel isn’t one class among many that you’ll attend during your life as a Christian – the gospel is the whole building that all the classes take place in! Rightly approached, all the topics you’ll study and focus on as a believer will be offered to you ‘within the walls’ of the glorious gospel.
The main section of this text is Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily. It is divided into 30 topics about the gospel – nicely set up for reading one topic each day of the month.
The great thing is that each is about one-half to three-quarters of a page so they are concise but they pack in some astonishing truths.
- how the gospel is the power of God
- how the gospel is my daily protection
- how the gospel gives me a cure for distrust
- how the gospel frees me to love my brothers and sisters
- how the gospel gives me a heart for the lost
- how the gospel cultivates humility
Reasons to start speaking this book to yourself
I have read through this book many times and have come away with five benefits:
- It has taught be how to preach the gospel to myself. Instead of listening to myself, I preach truth to myself.
- It has taught me how to use scripture more effectively in living out the gospel more successfully.
- It has taught me how to rehearse the benefits of the gospel to myself and to others around me.
- It has helped me realize with more clarity how the gospel can and should be actively at work in me every day.
- It has helped me understand that the gospel shapes every area of my life. I must not live it in a compartmentalized way.
Take, for example, this excerpt from the topic A Cure for Distrust:
Every time I deliberately disobey a command of God, it is because I am in that moment doubtful as to God’s true intentions in giving me that command. Does He really have my best interests at heart? Or is He withholding something from me that I would be better off having?
However, the gospel changes my view of God’s commandments, in that it helps me to see the heart of the Person from whom those commandments come. When I begin my train of thought with the gospel, I realize that if God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son’s life for me, then He must be guided by that same love when He speaks His commandments to me. Viewing God’s commandments and prohibitions in this light, I can see them for what they really are: friendly signposts from a heavenly Father who is seeking to love me through each directive, so that I might experience His very fullness forever.
When controlling my thoughts as described above, the gospel cures me of my suspicion of God, thereby disposing me to walk more trustingly on the path of obedience to His commands.
Wow! Speak this back to yourself when you are tempted to go astray!
Each topic accomplishes the same mission: it incorporates language that powerfully reminds me what the gospel changes for me in my life and how it accomplishes it. The focus is not on me changing me; the focus is on the gospel changing me. Each is a reminder of what I have in Jesus, because of Jesus, and through Jesus.
The author does most competent work in making this a narrative of what scripture says about the gospel.
This text makes for an excellent supplement to your daily time of your own personal growth. I need these reminders because my tendency is to drift – drifting to self-sufficiency, idolatry, and a lack of gospel-centered thinking. In preaching each topic of A Gospel Primer to myself, I begin to appreciate and value the authentic work of the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification. The gospel is true, but the Holy Spirit makes it alive to my soul.
The $10 you will spend on this book is well worth it. I have never read anything quite like this before and perhaps that is why it holds such value for me. It is like a an old friend that nudges me back to right thinking…gospel thinking.
I need to be about what Jesus is about. And Jesus is about His gospel being active in all, and I mean all, aspects of my life.
Have you read this text before? How has it impacted you?
I’d love to hear from you — please leave a reply below. Thanks!
If you know someone who would be helped by reading this, you can email it to them or share using one of the social media links below. Thank you!
If you would like to begin receive a weekly email whenever future posts are made, you can subscribe here. You may unsubscribe at any time.