by: Jeff Poppinga
As a pastor I have learned the duty of discretion. I must know what to say, how to say it, when to say it and to whom. I don't always get it right but I know I have a this duty. As a pastor I understand the concept of confidentiality. When people share things with me I know I am to hold that information in confidence. As a pastor I know how devastating it can be to drop names when preaching and teaching. As a pastor I must be very careful to maintain my ministerial ethics. If I start dropping names and calling people out I could heap up a pile of hurt feelings in a hurry.
I mean, just imagine going to church on Sunday and having the pastor call you out for a particular sin or use you as an example of inappropriate behavior! How would that make you feel? Imagine the pastor identifying you during Sunday morning as the one giving him the most trouble during the week.
But there comes a time when the culprit must be called out! There comes a time when the offender must be identified! There comes a time when names must be named! There comes a time to point a finger at the perpetrator!
What I want to do in this blog is to name a most troublesome fellow. This fellow has given me more grief than any other person has even come close to giving me. In other words, this fellow is the hands down champion of causing me trouble. This fellow is like the Seattle Seahawks and wins the championship in a blowout.
Well, it is time to out this guy! The most troublesome fellow I deal with is myself. That's right, I am my own worst enemy. That's right, I am my own stumbling block! That's right, I am my biggest trouble.
"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Tim 1:15 ESV).
Oh, how often I wrongly think that circumstances and those closest to me are holding me back. Oh, how easy it is for me to shift blame to others while shirking responsibility for my actions and attitudes. Oh, how I often act like others are the greatest sinners while justifying my own sin.
This is all part of me giving me the most trouble. I am Michelangelo when it comes to painting myself in the most favorable light.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it" (Jer 17:9 ESV).
Recently, I have been reading Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. Toward the beginning of the book he offers clarification on the good news by saying, "The good news of the kingdom is not freedom from hardship, suffering, and loss. It is the news of a Redeemer who has come to rescue me from myself"(pg 16).
I am my own most troublesome fellow. But there is hope for me!
"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3).
"Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up" (Jms 4:10).
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn 1:9).
I will close with the words to one of my favorite Hymns: Rock of Ages.
1. Rock of ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
4. While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
Glory and Praise to God
Grace and Peace to you,
Pastor Jeff Poppinga