Recently, Pastor Terry opened up one of our weekend worship services by sharing this quote from author Paul David Tripp:
No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.
This is so good and is so true. Tripp is talking about the unending conversation that you have with yourself every day, throughout your entire life. What messages are you telling yourself? Is your conversation filled with truth and hope, or lies and discouragement? It is important that in this conversation that you consistently preach the gospel to yourself.
Is Your Self-Talk Life-Giving?
Telling yourself that you have a right to be upset, that others don't deserve your forgiveness, that you might not be good enough, or that you are on your own without any hope is not only not helpful and even harmful, but is anti-gospel.
Each of us needs a steady diet of hearing the gospel and the love that God has for us, which defines who we are and how we ought to live. The gospel transforms us for the better. It gives us a healthy view of ourselves and our world. It keeps us centered and focused on who God is, what He is doing, and what He has promised He will do.
We are influenced by what we hear the most, so it is important that if we are the most influential voice in our own lives, that what we speak to ourselves a life-giving and gospel-centered message.
Self-Talk is the Same as Self-Preaching
In his book, The Christ-Centered Expositor Tony Merida writes,
"faithful preaching involves explaining what God has said in His Word, declaring what God has done in his Son, and applying this message to the hearts of people."
We don't often think of our thoughts and ongoing conversation with ourselves as preaching, but that is exactly what it is. Merida might be speaking specifically about the pastoral ministry of preaching to the body of believers, but his statement holds true for the preaching that we do to ourselves.
Using the Bible to Shape Your Self-Talk
It is important that we look at life through the lens of the Bible, God's Word. Many times, our worldview (or the way we see life) is determined by what we read on social media, what we read in the news, our own preferences, and many other things. It is important that we filter all of these opinions through the truth of scripture in order to develop a healthy and God-honoring worldview. So how do we practically do this?
How to Develop a Healthy Worldview
Read the Bible
First, in order to preach a gospel-centered, scripture saturated message to ourselves we need to spend time reading and studying the Bible. This almost sounds too basic, doesn't it? But the truth is that we can't speak the Word of God to ourselves without first having the Word of God in us.
Spending daily time reading and studying God's word is paramount to our ability to effectively preach a life-giving message to ourselves.
View the Bible as One Big Story Pointing to Jesus
Second, we need to look at Scripture as a grand narrative (one big story) that points to Jesus throughout its entirety. The message of the Bible is one of God's redemption of His people. This redemptive story doesn't start in the New Testament. It is the message of the whole Bible! In other words, the center of the gospel is Jesus.
If we are going to preach a gospel-centered, life-giving, truth saturated message to ourselves, we have to look at what God is doing throughout all of Scripture to redeem us through Jesus as we study the Bible. Without this, the Bible becomes a bunch of dos and don'ts. It becomes an impossibly high bar for us to try to live up to and earn our salvation. This is not a gospel message.
If we look at the Bible this way, the message we preach to ourselves will be that we are not good enough and that we will never be good enough, so all hope is gone. Yes, we are not good enough and will never be good enough on our own, but we have been given the hope that comes through Jesus and the forgiveness and reconciliation that He brings. That's the message of the Bible.
Apply the Truth of the Bible to Your Life
Third, we must apply these truths to our life. As we study God's Word and read it through the lens of Jesus and redemption, we have to take these truths and promises and apply them to our life. This is where the effectiveness of our preaching can take root.
When we preach the right message to ourselves, it begins to transform our hearts. In Romans 12:2 Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Our human, imperfect, sin-filled selves naturally want to speak words of discouragement and lies to our hearts. Instead, if we saturate our minds with the promises of God and the good news of Jesus, our minds begin to lead us to a faith-filled message of who we are in Christ which then transforms our hearts.
The loudest and most influential voice in your life is yours.
Take the steps to transform your mind with God's truth so that you will preach a healthy, life-giving, God-honoring, gospel-centered message to your heart. You need it! It is the very thing that will give you life and peace. Nothing outside of the message of the gospel can provide this for you.
Do It For Your Kids, Too
Not only do you need this in your life, but your kids need this as well. They need you preaching a gospel-centered message to yourself! Without this, you won't have what is necessary to preach the gospel to them. Discipleship can't take place from a heart that isn't transformed through Jesus. Your daily work of tilling the soil through the study of the Bible is needed for your heart and for the discipleship work of the hearts around you.