A phrase from a song my sister’s been singing around the house has been floating around in my mind lately: “I preach the gospel to myself, that I am not a man condemned.” That is exactly what advent is intended to do—to remind us of the applicability of the gospel to all of life.
It was years into my Christian life before I realized that I needed the gospel applied to my life daily. I had somehow accepted the notion that the gospel was something that I had believed when I asked Jesus into my heart at six, and the rest of the Christian life was my trying to be good enough to make God happy with me as his child. I spent countless nights reviewing everything I had done wrong that day and resolving to do better next time, discouraged that I was still not the kind of godly Christian I wanted to be.
When I was encouraged to apply the gospel to my life as a believer, it changed everything. I was set free by the fact that I no longer had to labor to please God. A life before urged on by broken resolutions is slowly transforming into a life fueled by love for the One who loved me first.
That’s what the gospel does. It’s a startling, but beautiful reality: “Now to him who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). The transformation comes when the Spirit gives us eyes of faith to look fully to Christ for our righteousness. It’s a looking to Christ that happens not only the first day of our conversion but every day as we face the reality of our continued fight with sin.
Lord, this advent, would you teach me to look to the gospel, as my hope and stronghold? Help me preach this gospel daily to myself. May I Iive and love out of the reality of your finished work on the cross, instead of working to live the Christian life in my own strength.