Thin but not Healthy

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

“It is my worship that enables me to lead others to worship.  It is my sense of need that leads me to tenderly pastor those in need of grace.” p. 34-35.

As someone who has spent the majority of his adult life trying to live a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising, and serving as a personal fitness trainer, for years I have sung the praises of getting into and staying in shape.  And I will continue to be an advocate for it for the rest of my life.  It is something I value and believe in in large part because of personal benefits that I have experienced from them.  As I continue to see the pros to this way of living it is something I want to share with others.  I want as many people to know the fuller life one can live by stewarding their body well. It is one of the many blessings in creation God has given us to fight the damaging effects of sin and suffering on the body, mind and emotions.  Now if I stopped working out consistently and let my diet go, say for a few years, I might still advocate for a healthy lifestyle but not with the same kind of fervor and passion as I would if I were still engaged in those activities today.  Because the less I do them the less I feel like I need them in my life.  It transitions from being a necessity to a nicety.  And one of the things that truly undermine a personal trainer’s credibility is one who doesn’t look like they take care of themselves.

Well the same can be said about any pastor whose worship begins to diminish and get stale over time.  When they stop giving the kind of genuine energy and heart-felt devotion to Christ they did in the past, they begin to look a little flabby.  Though their words may be in step with the Scriptures, it doesn’t seem to have the gravitas and power behind them as it once did.  Again using our fitness analogy, it is like someone who looks good but doesn’t have any strength.  A person’s strength dwindles relatively quickly when they stop working out.  It takes much longer to see visible changes in their physique, but you can tell almost immediately when you haven’t work out in a while because your strength, speed, agility and stamina decrease substantially.  As a pastor you can’t afford to let yourself go.  You cannot stop applying the gospel to your own heart and life because though you may look healthy on the outside your character will suffer and those who look to you will follow your example.  And when it comes time for them to have to lift their own weight they will be confused and disappointed thinking I did all the right things, knew the right information, read all the right books. How come it didn’t work?  How come my life has changed?  It is because they weren’t taught what true worship looks like and how to engage in it, because we aren’t participating ourselves.  So how’s your worship?  In other words, has your list of reasons for why and how much you need God gotten shorter and therefore your reasons to worship become fewer?  How have you begun to settle for looking thin (spiritual disciplines only) as opposed to being strong and fit (a desperate and personal need for the gospel)?

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral MinistryDangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles