Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People
“When the word of God, faithfully taught by the people of God and empowered by the Spirit of God, falls down, people become different. Lusting people become pure, fearful people become courageous, thieves become givers, demanding people become servants, angry people become peacemakers, complainers become thankful, and idolaters come to worship the one true God. The ultimate purpose of the word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation.” Page 51.
I recall when I was a teenager and heard about the gospel for the first time. To be quite honest, it scared me a little bit. When I was younger I used to literally avoid church or anything related to church. Each time the pastor from the church we rarely attended would come over to visit my family, I would take off out the back door and walk around the block until I saw that his car was gone. I can’t explain why I felt uncomfortable, but just that I did. I think I had friends praying that I would stop running.
When I was in middle school a buddy of mine gave me a phone number and told me I should call it. I was curious, and somewhat gullible, so I did and it turned about to be part of the “Here’s Life” evangelism campaign that was put on my Campus Crusade for Christ in the 70’s. When the man answered the phone and start asking me questions I panicked and hung up on him. I was furious with my friend. Interestingly, I came to Christ a few years later, and after college my wife and I joined staff with Campus Crusade where I served for 28 years! But that phone call was one of my earliest experiences with the gospel.
I am deeply grateful for what happened when I heard about God’s love for me and, of course, eventually responded out of His grace. I was immediately transformed and I knew things were very different even then. I became a new creature and my heart and life took a completely different direction. I had no idea how different, though.
I was incredibly blessed to then grow in my faith by the church my family ended up joining. Our family was a traditional southern family that had attended church because if was culturally expected. It was what good families did. But it meant very little to us: until my brother and I came to Christ.
My life has never been the same and it is because of the great teachers of God’s word that I experienced. It was their faithful commitment to teaching the life-transforming gospel to their congregations or bible studies, or youth which sent me on the exciting adventure I am now on. The journey has not ended thankfully and won’t until I am able to step into heaven.
God has used his word, and the people who taught it, to start the process of changing me into the image of His son Jesus. The transformative nature of the word of God has not only rescued me, and my twisted heart from death, but it has slowly changed me entirely. Sure, the teaching of God’s word has filled my head with a great deal of theological knowledge, but it’s not that knowledge that I am most deeply appreciative to the Lord for. It is how he has radically used his word to change my heart. Today I am not necessarily happier than when I was younger, but I am more fulfilled than I have ever been. I am less insecure, I am less mesmerized by money and ease, I am less controlled by the fear of man and I am more moved by the absolutely amazing grace of God. I am more enthralled by his mercy and his power. I hear from him more often and talk to him more. I am more likely to thank him for even the bad things. I am more likely to believe what he says in his word. I have found that the Living Water offered by Jesus really does satisfy me. I don’t read the Word because it answers all of my questions. I read it because it is satisfies and changes me in ways that the world absolutely cannot. I am amazed that the word of God has transformed my heart. That is what the word of God does. And that is how a calling to ministry or to service can avoid the danger of running off the rails.
The ultimate purpose of the word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation. How has the word of God impacted your life? How might you have wandered away from its power? How might you move back toward its strength to change you and your heart? I encourage you to talk to a trusted friend about it.
Please join us each week as we explore Paul David Tripp’s Dangerous Calling. The blog series summary can be found at www.bridgehavencounseling.org/dangerouscalling.
|Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles