Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People
“The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation. Biblical literacy and theological expertise are not, therefore, the end of the Word but a God-ordained means to an end, and the end is radically transformed life because the worship at the center of that life has been reclaimed. This means it is dangerous to teach, discuss, and exegete the Word without this goal in view” (Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling, page 51, italics mine).
Several years ago, I sat in my chair of my first semester of Hebrew about to take my first exam. My fellow students and I were nervous, sleep-deprived, and coffee-filled. Almost all of us had our flashcards out running through the vocabulary “just one more time.” When it was time to take our exam, our professor humbly stood before us, prayed, and stated profound, soft-spoken words that cut us to our core: “Let’s all remember why we’re doing this…” What a heart check! We were all freaking out about our exam, and with the professor’s statement, we were reminded about our focus. Our motivation was not on God-glorification in that moment. It was on passing Hebrew. Though our professor was not criticizing the fact that we studied for our Hebrew exam, he pointed us back as to the reason why we were doing it. Had we studied in such a way to worship the Lord? Were our minds focused on giving God the glory and worship through our studying (1 Cor. 10:31)?
Because God created us to be worshipers (of Him), anything we do can be an act of worship to Him. Why do I do what I do? Why do you do what you do? Have you ever thought about the purpose of reading, teaching, and studying the Word? Though from it we may counsel, teach, study, or prepare for a message, it is important to remember that the ultimate purpose behind it is not to acquire theological information. Though we know in our minds that the Bible is more than information, we need to remind ourselves why we come to it. Though we may study it with the exegesis paper in mind, the counselee, or the sermon, the ultimate purpose should be focusing on the divine Author of it. Worship is the goal.
Have you studied the Word this week? Have you prepared for a sermon or studied it for an exegesis paper? Have you studied passages relevant to a counselee regarding depression, anxiety, anger, or marital problems? If so, have you stopped to ask yourself the question, “Have I been reminded of the Author?” “Has my heart been changed, transformed, and touched spending time in those divine words?” If not, perhaps I need to go back to the motive behind why I am in Scripture. Is worship the goal? Am I focusing on the Author?
|Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles