Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Preaching to Myself

Sometimes the person who most needs to hear the sermon that the preacher is preaching is the preacher himself. That's what happened to me this past Sunday. I had been feeling a little bit discouraged last week. Maybe I wasn't having a full-fledged "pity party," but I was a bit down. I wished that we would be reaching more people for Jesus. I wished that we had a building that would accommodate our needs- (I'm not asking for much- just a meeting space with bathrooms and classrooms and a large enough area for a sanctuary. Ok, I'd also like for it to be able to be seen from the road). But I wasn't seeing those things happening.

In the book Humility- True Greatness, C.J. Mahaney quotes Martin Lloyd Jones as saying, "Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" That was my problem. I was only listening to the discouraging things that were going on around me. I should have been reminding myself of God's greatness.

In fact, the message I needed to hear was the same one I was preparing for our people. That message was from Habakkuk 3. In this chapter the prophet Habakkuk had a lot of things that could have discouraged him- beginning with the captivity that his nation was about to experience. Instead of staying dejected, Habakkuk asked for God's help. He then reflected on the ways that God had helped in the past and remembered the great character of God. Those memories lead Him to declare his trust in God no matter how bad the circumstances around him would become. The memories lead him to praise God.

Once I preached that message to myself I was indeed happier and more content. I trust that we all can remember to remind ourselves of God's goodness. When we preach that message to ourselves we will be remembering why we can trust God no matter what is going on around us.


  1. Thanks Dave, a good reminder and a good word.

  2. Dave, as a fellow pastor, I know exactly what you are talking about. Our church has been through many ups and downs. Sometimes, from a human viewpoint, more downs than ups. I was preaching this last Sunday on who we are as the Church and, based on that, what we should do. My first point was, in effect, preaching to myself. Since we are God's church, started by Him and based on the Gospel, we need to trust Him to do with us as He sees fit. We can be confident, because God is sovereign and good, that He will accomplish His purpose through us. We just need to be faithful to Him and trust Him.

  3. is this not exactly how parenting works too? the issues that stir up the most strife for us internally when we're parenting our children are the issues we need to work out for ourselves.

    IMO, the things that resonate in us to speak about are almost always exactly the things we need for ourselves.

    besides, who wants to be pastored by a pastor that doesn't take his own advice to heart? lol