I have often written about our need to “preach the gospel to ourselves” on a regular basis. This need springs from the reality that we struggle with a variety of temptations everyday ranging from despair and depression where we need hope to pride and arrogance where we need humility.
One of the ways I find myself preaching the gospel to myself is by way of reminding myself how much greater the love of God is than whatever sinful desire my heart is manifesting. It helps me during these times of temptation to qualify God’s love by telling myself that God loves me more than anyone in the world – more than my dad and mom, more than my closest friends, and even more than my wife. If God loved me and sent his Son to be the propitiation for my sins (that is, Christ experienced the full anger of God for our sins) (1 John 4:10), then there is no one whose love for me exceeds his.
And here’s the kicker, that includes the love I have for myself! The sad, horrible truth is that I love me more than anyone else on this planet. As a sinner, I spend an over-abundance of time and energy living for me, and yet, because God has given Jesus as my substitute on the cross, I am united with him before God and God now loves me as he loves Jesus. Which means he loves me perfectly and fully… in a way that is stronger and deeper than I could ever love myself.
The strongest love in existence is not a mother’s love for her child, it is not a husband’s love for his wife, and it is not a sinner’s love for self – it’s the love of a holy God for rebels who have trusted in his Son for salvation. When it comes to reminding yourself of the gospel in the fight against sin…that’ll preach!