As young Christians, we want to thrive in our walk with Christ like trees “planted by the rivers of water” (Psalm 1:2-3). For many of us, Sunday is a day of refreshment and growth, sitting under the preaching of the gospel and soaking in the realities of our heavenly Father. But too many times we struggle through the rest of the week. Monday dawns and we are back to the grind, many of us in environments hostile to Christianity. Even in the situations we enjoy working or learning in, there are still days we just feel spiritually dry and weak.
I remember a preacher urging his congregation to “preach to yourself instead of listening to yourself.” When that feeling of dullness or dryness settles in, preach the truth to yourself. The gospel that has the power to bring you from spiritual death to life has the power to hold you steady in your walk with Christ.
How do you preach to yourself? By keeping the gospel, the truths of God, before your eyes constantly.
The morning mindset check. If you are like me, your mind is a muddled mess in the morning. It is difficult to leave the comfort of sleep, shuffle around half-awake, and have a good attitude about anything. This is a horrible place for the Christian to start his or her day.
The notable 19th-century preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne offers some advice on this issue: "I ought to pray before seeing anyone. Often when I sleep long or meet with others early, it is eleven or twelve o'clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a wretched system. It is unscriptural. Christ arose before day and went into a solitary place. David says: 'Early will I seek thee;' 'Thou shalt early hear my voice.' Family prayer loses much of its power and sweetness, and I can do no good to those who come to seek from me. The conscience feels guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not trimmed. Then when in secret prayer the soul is often out of tune, I feel it is far better to begin with God—to see his face first, to get my soul near him before it is near another."
Keep Scripture on hand throughout the day. After starting the morning on the right path, the mundane nature of daily life can quickly bring you back down and distract you from walking near to Christ. One of the best ways I have found to keep this from happening is to have Scripture at hand all the time. Whether it is a devotional app on your phone, a Bible on your desk or sticky notes with verses written on them, the constant reminders of the gospel will be like markers along a trail keeping you on track.
Bring the gospel into your media life. No matter what kind of media you consume on a daily basis, it is probably a mixture of good and bad. As far as social media is concerned, you have a great amount of control over what you see. Following people or pages that post and share helpful articles, resources, or Scriptures is a fantastic way to turn an otherwise distracting habit into a beneficial tool.
Keep a daily prayer schedule. If you have read anything about the great Christians of the past, you have seen how large the role of prayer was in their daily lives. While we are not always able to spend hours in the prayer closet, there are moments in each day where we find ourselves with nothing pressing to do. Prayer does not have to be an organized, ritualistic practice, although there is a benefit to having an organized routine to prepare our minds and heart for time with God. Take that three-minute lull in your activity to draw near to God and praise Him, ask for His grace and protection from sin, and that He would be glorified in your life that day. Go ahead and keep a count of how many times you do this in a day, and try to set a record. Sincere, reverent, short prayers throughout the day will do more for the glory of God in your life than an exhausted five-minute mumble at the end of the day.
Use your commute and off time wisely. Our generation is constantly on the move. We are commuting to work, school, walking across campus, exercising, driving to lunch, hanging with friends on the weekends, etc. Then there are the off times when we do not have to do anything. These minutes in our day usually go empty. We fill them by listening to music, texting, surfing social media, or relaxing in the silence away from the noise of our daily activities. There are no better times than these to preach to ourselves. If you find yourself driving alone, take that time to pray. Or download sermons or an audio Bible on your smartphone. Fill this space in your day with the gospel and refresh your heart in Christ.
A gospel reminder as you go to bed. Depending on your situation in life, evenings can go any number of ways. But whether you are alone or tucking kids in bed, an early-to-bed type or a night owl, those moments before you close your eyes to sleep are special. Your day is behind you, with all its experiences and revelations of God’s hand in your life. Use that minute or two to meditate on His provision, present your trials before Him in prayer, and take a quick look at a verse of Scripture. Do not fall asleep without first putting your heart back where it belongs: in the hands of God.