Dangerous Calling: God Will Give Us What We Want

Sometimes, we think of God as a pragmatic god. We think we do exactly as he says, we make it appear that all is well, and do everything to please him, he will give us whatever our heart’s desires.

Wait, what if my heart’s desires are for something not Him? What if I want more money, more sex, more work, more security, more of anything out of God but not God himself? Why in all of creation would God give me something not God when my heart desires not God. Logically and theologically, that does not make sense.

In one true sense, God is a pragmatic God. That is, if he has given me His soft heart and now my heart’s desires are for Him and His glory. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.1 Okay, I am going to ask God for God and His glory. Guess what, He will not say, “No”, to me. He will give me exactly what my heart desires.

Likewise, God may be pouring His blessings on you, in you and through you despite you. Jesus said, “God shines the sun on the evil and good and pours rain on the just and unjust.2 When someone close to you, be it your wife or your best friend, calls you out on your crap, we cannot dare think that just because everything is going awesome doesn’t mean it is awesome in your soul. Pragmatism should be the alarm, not the process, that something might be going on in your heart.

“I would say to Luella (and this is embarrassing, but important to admit), ‘If I’m such a bad guy, why is God blessing everything I put my hands to?’ God was acting as he was not because he was endorsing my manner of living but because of his zeal for his own glory and his faithfulness to his promises of grace for his people. And God has the authority and power to use whatever instruments he chooses in whatever way he chooses to use them. The success of a ministry is always more a picture of who God is than a statement about who the people are that he is using for his purpose. I had it all wrong. I took credit that I did not deserve for what I could not do; I made it about me, so I didn’t see myself as a man headed for disaster and in deep need of the rescue of God’s grace.” 3

Notes:

  1. Luke 11:9
  2. Matthew 5:45
  3. Paul David Tripp. Dangerous Calling (Kindle Locations 330-336). Crossway.

Harshness vs Expressing One’s Feelings

Take a look at this hot mess that someone might call a ‘book review’:

For so long, the gospel of God has been assumed in our churches. We now stand on the cusp of the gospel being denied from those who grew up in church and yet was never taught the fullness of the gospel and the full council of the Bible. Nevermind, the true gospel being scoffed at from the unbeliever–we know that would happen. We now have the gospel assumed or even worse yet, taught something that is the gospel is not: namely, Jesus is a good example, Jesus is just a Lord, Jesus provides wealth, health and prosperity or we have to take the part of God and make all things right by him by transforming our world.

By God’s providence and will, we now see a small yet vocal group of Western churches boldly proclaiming the gospel (the rest of the world like China or all throughout Africa is years ahead in proclamation of the gospel). This is wonderful. In turn, many other churches are catching wind and claim to proclaim the gospel as well.

What I have experienced is the word gospel being tossed around but I yearn for teachers, preachers and saints to dive right in and explain the gospel of God. More than that, when pressed to explain the gospel, I see too many other Christians with their deer-in-highlights expressions as if to say, “please don’t pick me to answer that question.” I don’t say that to criticize the saints but to extend grace to them because those who are called to office have not done a great job equipping them to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16).

We haven’t done a great job before. Instead of kicking ourselves of sucking, now is the time to turn the ship around. Martin Luther makes the call, “Beat the gospel into their heads continually.” First, we must clearly and simply answer the question:

What is the gospel?

Those who are called to equip, answer this question and teach the answer to the saints. To the saints, go forth and proclaim this Truth of truths to the captives, the blind, the deaf, the sick and the dead that is there is One who has brought freedom, sight, sound, health and life!

Buy this book. Study the verses well. Led by the Holy Spirit, repackage and teach this well. Buy a case and give it away.

With His blood, He has saved me
By His power, He has raised me.
To God be the glory
For the things he has done

Perhaps if I was a studied theologian. Perhaps if I was a seasoned pastor. Perhaps if I beheld a crown of silver upon my head, I could get away with saying some of the things here.

I would go as far as calling myself a pompous ass (rightfully so):

Perhaps I was a bit harsh on myself. Truth be told, I was deeply embarrassed for this and anything else I have written with the same tone. You know the one: comes from a semblance of authority but oneself without any authority.

I am embarrassed for being a Mr. Know-It-All. I am embarrassed for telling other people what to do and I am not even in a position to do it myself.

I was a hypocrite.embarrassed-monkey

I could have come with a lot more humility and a lot less arrogance.

I am embarrassed.

I am sorry if anything I have ever wrote or said ever hurt you.

I am sorry.