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.

Dangerous Calling: Blind to My True Condition

“You see, sin is not first an intellectual problem. (Yes, it does affect my intellect, as it does all parts of my functioning.) Sin is first a moral problem. It is about my rebellion against God and my quest to have for myself the glory that is due to him. Sin is not first about the breaking of an abstract set of rules. Sin is first and foremost about breaking relationship with God, and because I have broken this relationship, it is then easy and natural to rebel against God’s rules. So it’s not just my mind that needs to be renewed by sound biblical teaching, but my heart needs to be reclaimed by the powerful grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reclamation of my heart is both an event (justification) and a process (sanctification). Seminary, therefore, won’t solve my deepest problem— sin. It can contribute to the solution, but it may also blind me to my true condition by its tendency to redefine what maturity actually looks like. Biblical maturity is never just about what you know; it’s always about how grace has employed what you have come to know to transform the way you live.”

Paul David Tripp. Dangerous Calling (Kindle Locations 301-309). Crossway.

Dangerous Calling: Where’s The Grace?

Lectures. Speaking engagements. One-on-one counseling. Teaching. Preaching. Speaking. Whispering. Is it possible to continuously proclaiming the glorious, loving, gracious gospel of Jesus Christ? What if I preached to myself His gospel? What if I continuously filled my mind not with mindless entertainment but with His glorious revelation? What if I stepped into the world and loved the world in the way He did? What if I could get ever moment of my life to proclaim His goodness and grace? What if?

“You are most loving, patient, kind, and gracious when you are aware that there is no truth that you could give to another that you don’t desperately need yourself. You are most humble and gentle when you think that the person you are ministering to is more like you than unlike you. When you have inserted yourself into another category that tends to make you think you have arrived, it is very easy to be judgmental and impatient. I heard a pastor unwittingly verbalize this well. My brother Tedd and I were at a large Christian-life conference listening to a well-known pastor speak on family worship. He told stories of the zeal, discipline, and dedication of the great fathers of our faith to personal and family worship. He painted lengthy pictures of what their private and family devotions were like. I think all of us felt that it was all very convicting and discouraging. I felt the weight of the burden of the crowd as they listened. I was saying to myself, ‘Comfort us with grace, comfort us with grace,’ but the grace never came.1

Notes:

  1. Paul David Tripp. Dangerous Calling (Kindle Locations 262-270). Crossway.

Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp: A Review

I like this book and I am not even a pastor. And I am not going to preface this review with any sort of calling that God has on my life or whatever He might be walking me through. I think this book is suited for any Christian for we are all saints who are being equipped for the work of the ministry. 1 But I think it would be a shame for any Christian to look at the cover, dismiss it because “Oh I am not a pastor”.

I consider those saints who are called by Christ as Pastor-Shepherds to be the Jedi Council of the Christian world. They have masterful way of looking into your life by the words you are speaking and be able to clearly see what is going on in your heart. The good ones don’t judge the heart but instead, ask a series of voodoo questions that helps you see what’s going on in your own heart. This is a skill, gift, and an anointing I do not possess but will always appreciate and will forever admire pastor-counselors and be in awe of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives and through their lives.

Me? I have to work hard to shepherd well. I have to study my butt off just to half-way counsel others in the gospel of Christ. So, whenever the Biblical Counseling Prof from my seminary writes a book pertaining to pastors, most certainly I will seek this book out.

I initially suspected that this is a book that would help those who feel lead to serve His Bride in some sort of Pastor/Teacher calling. Oh, the book does that but Tripp isn’t simply satisfied with examining your calling. In the omnipotent reaching power of God alone, Tripp is interested in what is really going on in your heart. I mean, really, going on.

If the gospel pertains to the many facets of the diamond that is the life and finished work of Jesus Christ, then Tripp does a masterful job in uncovering the many facets of your heart. Except, if I can speak for my own heart and life, there is no diamond to uncover but rather a coal mine that knows no limits to its depths.

When it comes to your heart, Tripp does not pull punches. For the sake of the gospel, His Bride, my bride, my family, my heart and my soul, I certainly glad he did not.

The easy read yet a read that cuts deep. You can’t do much better than that.

Pick up this book and don’t let it collect dust on the bookshelf with the rest of your other unread books. Read it right away.

Notes:

  1. see Ephesians 4:11-16