IF SOMEONE POLLED your church with the question, “which preacher do you listen to most frequently,” how would you respond? Some would point to their pastor. Others might suggest a minister they hear on the radio or by podcast. But if we are honest, none of these win the contest. Believe it or not, the individual who has the greatest access to our heart, the one who preaches to us most frequently, is not who we thin.
It is the Devil.
Satan preaches a sophisticated, seductive, and manipulative message. He has one goal, to either convince you that the Lie is true, or to convince you that the Truth is a lie, and we are usually unaware that he is the one speaking. For example, he speaks to us through our newspapers, through television, blogs, email, the radio, popular music, the movie industry, magazines, our consciences, NFL commercials, and yes even at times through our friends. He is the “Prince of this world.” God has given him control of the media, and through this megaphone he preaches persuasively.
How do we know if we have been listening to the Devil’s lies? The fruits are ominous and varied. We become discouraged when life doesn’t go as we had planned. We feel unneeded guilt over a careless comment that hurt someone we love. We compare ourselves to others and then feel worthless. We give into hopelessness or fear as we observe cultural change. Some even yield to the despair that this life is all there is. The Devil knows how to “preach it,” and we are often the victims.
But God has provided us with a mighty spiritual weapon. It is the gospel. Hidden in its recesses are crucial truths. When applied they shatter the Devil’s vicious deceits. Hidden in the Gospel argues that preaching these truths to yourself 24 x 7 matters greatly.
In other words, God does not want us to listen to ourselves or the Devil. Instead, he wants us to preach to ourselves. Listening is passive. Preaching is active. For example, when I don’t feel loved by God, I preach the truth to myself. It transcends feelings. Before the foundation of the world God chose me and set his love upon me. He didn’t choose me because I performed, but despite the fact that I didn’t. He sent his Son to live a perfect life in my place, and to bear the wrath that I deserve at Calvary. It is rare when this exercise does not kindle feelings of being loved in my heart.
I wrote Hidden In the Gospel to help the average Christian cultivate this discipline of preaching the gospel to themselves. By the gospel I mean everything that God has done, or will do, to save us. It stretches from eternity past to eternity future. This gospel starts with election and ends with the new heavens and new earth. It includes the doctrines of election, Christ’s incarnation, his active obedience, penal substitutionary death, his resurrection, ascension, return for final judgment, and the creation of new heavens and earth. Hidden in these wonderful doctrines are truths, whose marvelous application each Christian needs to preach to themselves daily.
So, which preacher do you listen to most? Hopefully, it is not the Devil. I wrote Hidden In The Gospel to convince you that it should be yourself.