WARNING: This post is not for the fainthearted and hypocritical. If you continue to read, you risk being convicted and realize you are not immune, and that you have a constant, daily need for the grace of a loving Savior.
I know I am not alone. Many other pastors… are quick to minister but not very open to receiving ministry. – Paul David Tripp
Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.
On March 10, 2013, he shared in a blog a mistake what he thinks most preachers and Christians are prone to make, a mistake he himself made – the disconnect between the public persona and the private man.
Praise God for the life of this pastor who has not yet “arrived into perfection and spiritual maturity”, so that we can gain priceless wisdom from his own struggles, which are never different from our own.
Permit me to explain the spiritual dynamics. In ways that I couldn’t yet see or understand, my Christianity had quit being a relationship. Yes, I knew God was my Father and I was his child, but at street level things looked different. My faith had become a professional calling. It had become my job. My role as pastor shaped the way I related to God. It formed my relationships. I was set up for disaster, and if it hadn’t been anger, something else would have revealed my plight.
I know I am not alone. Many other pastors have developed spiritually treacherous habits. They are content with a non-existent devotional life constantly kidnapped by preparation. They are comfortable with living outside of or above the body of Christ. They are quick to minister but not very open to receiving ministry. They have long since quit seeing themselves accurately and so tend not to receive loving confrontation very well. And they tend to carry this unique category identity home, making them less than humble and patient with their families.
We’re always assigning to ourselves some kind of identity. There are only two places to look. I will either get my identity vertically, from who I am in Christ, or I will shop for it horizontally in the situations, experiences, and relationships of my daily life. This is true of everyone, but I am convinced that pastors are particularly tempted to seek their identity horizontally.