20 Apr Why Paul Tripp is one of my favorites!
There have been a number of influential authors, teachers, and preachers in my life, but one of my favorites is Paul Tripp. I’ve read a number of his books, done some of his studies, and been to a couple of his live conferences. He has a great way of speaking the truth and pointing you back to the cross. His material is always theologically rich, Christ centric, and gospel focused but it’s even more than that. It’s very humble, honest, and relatable. That’s why I love his daily devotional. It’s a daily reminder that we all need Jesus and each other, every day; that we never arrive but constantly need the gospel.
Tripp’s not afraid to say that his biggest issue in life is himself and his sinfulness. Whether it’s marriage, parenting, friendships, or the church; whatever the relationship is, the biggest issue is his sinfulness and how he responds. He goes on to say the same is true for everyone. Our biggest issue is not other people but us. We need to deal with our heart issues first before we ever look at others (Matthew 7:1-5). God uses the people in our lives to reveal the heart/sin issues that we need to deal with. The people aren’t necessarily the problem, they are simply the tool God is using. We actually need each other to grow in our Christlikeness.
That’s why when I read Tripp’s devotional from April 15th, I knew I had to share it with you, especially considering the time we’re in now. The devotional is all about our desperate need for one another and how God uses His body – the church – to grow each of us. But enough from me, let’s read his devotional together!
“Since my need for spiritual help is so great, the Bible teaches that I need the daily intervention of the body of Christ.”
It really is true — your walk with God is a community project. The isolated, separated, loner, Jesus-and-me religion that often marks the modern church culture is not the religion that is described in the New Testament. Many of us live virtually unknown, and many of the people whom we think we know we don’t actually know. Many of us live in endless networks of terminally casual relationships, in which conversations seldom go deeper than weather, food, politics, the coolest movie that’s out, or the latest cute thing your child did. Most of what we call fellowship never really rises to the level of the humble self-disclosure and mutual ministry that make fellowship actually redemptively worthwhile. Most of what we call fellowship is little different from what happens at the pub down the street. We should just call it “pubship” and tell people that they don’t have to worry, there will be little fellowship at the church dinner.
Hebrews 3:12-13 addresses the essentiality of community to the work that God has done and is continuing to do in you and me: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Why do I need the daily intervention of the body of Christ? The answer is as simple as it is humbling. I need this daily ministry because I am a blind man. As much as I would like to think that I see and know myself well, it just isn’t true. Because sin blinds me to me, as long as there is still sin inside me there will be pockets of blindness in my view of me. It’s actually more serious than what I have just described, because whereas every physically blind person knows that he is blind, spiritually blind people are blind to their blindness; they actually think that they see, when in fact they don’t.
What about you? Have you embraced your daily need for the help of the body of Christ? Who knows you? Whom have you invited to intrude into your private space to function for you as an instrument of seeing? Do you have a name in mind right now? When someone who knows you points out a sin, a weakness, or a failure, are you thankful? Or do you feel your chest tighten and ears get red as you silently prepare yourself to rise to your own defense? Are you skilled at giving non-answers to personal questions, or do you run toward the daily help that God has provided? That help is not something to be afraid of or shy away from, because it is a tool of God’s forgiving, rescuing, transforming, and delivering grace.
For further study and encouragement: 1 Corinthians 12 *
God designed us to be connected, to Him and others. We need each other. So even though we can’t meet as a large group right now, there are many ways we can stay connected and be in each other’s lives. Growing in our honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. Loving one another and giving eyes to our spiritual blindness. If you’re in a small group, of any kind, reach out to one another today. If you’re not in a small group yet, reach out to someone from the church and when we can meet together again, get in a small group! We need each other.
Love you all!
(*) Taken from Paul Tripp’s “New Morning Mercies” devotional.