Signs Around Us

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Signs—they are all around us as indicators of something. Octagonal red stop signs are indicators to stop. Yield signs are indicators to be ready to stop if another driving is coming. Bridges have signs as reminders to slow down because they may ice in cold weather. Exit signs on high ways and interstates are indications of where to find food, gas, and lodging. To be familiar with signs, one must learn what they mean and watch for them. To perceive and comprehend signs, a person must be able to see.

Paul David Tripp notes that there are several signs of a pastor [or ministry worker] losing his way.  The blog focus of the last couple of weeks has been a focus on the first two: 1) Ignoring the clear evidence of his problems and 2) Being blind to the issues of his own heart. Spiritual insight is an important part of recognizing the signs that a Christian worker is losing his way. Spiritual insight, however, cannot take place in isolation. One of the temptations of pastors and ministry workers is to isolate, trying to rely on their own spiritual vision. Do these arguments sound familiar?

“No one has a more accurate view of myself than I do.”

“No one else’s critique of my thoughts, desires, motivations, choices, words, and actions are more reliable than my own.”

“If others question or confront me, I get defensive and generate arguments.”

[Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling, page 34.]

This thinking is an indicator of spiritual blindness. Other indicators (or signs) of spiritual blindness occur when thinking that you are not the problem. You may blame circumstances or other people—but not you. Tripp notes, “The most dangerous aspect of this already dangerous condition is that spiritually blind people tend to be blind to their blindness” (page 34). Do not ignore the signs. Invite people to speak into your life.

Perhaps one of the clearest examples in Scripture where a sin-blinded individual needed the assistance of another was the life of David. David’s progression of sin started as a lustful gaze at another man’s wife bathing on a rooftop. It turned into adultery, lying, and murder. The Lord sent Nathan to confront David’s sin. Nathan told David a story about two men: one rich and one poor. The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had only a little ewe lamb. The poor man loved his little sheep very much. He shared his food and drink with it, and he even held it as he slept at night. One day a traveler came to the rich man. Instead of offering one of his sheep of all of the many that he had, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man, preparing it for the traveler. David was furious. He told Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had not pity” (2 Sam. 12:5-7). Nathan responded, “You are the man” (v. 7)!

David was blinded by his sin. He did not recognize that he was the “rich man” of the story. The Lord used Nathan in David’s life to elicit repentance: “I [David] have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:13). David, a man after God’s own heart, was blinded by his sin. We, like David, are just as susceptible to sin and need others to help us spiritually see blind spots of sin.

Do you think that you are “okay?” Do you think that you know everything there is to know about yourself? Are you isolated, away from community? If the answer is “Yes,” then these are indicators that you need to slow down and look for the signs that you might be losing your way. Invite others into your life. They can see sin areas of your life that perhaps you cannot see.


Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles