Let me first say that it is great to be back from vacation. My family and I had a wonderful time, and God was and is astonishingly faithful. I want to talk about what I learned on vacation (from my boy Augustine) but first I need to speak to an issue dealing with my heart. This is the warning that God has placed in my heart: Matthew 6:1– “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
So, I think there is a fine line for me to walk in the remaining time I spend on this blog. Let me state a few things about how I’m dealing with this verse…First, I want you to know that I have probably NEVER had an original thought. Everything that I have learned about Theology, ecclesiology, and life in general has been revealed to be by God the Holy Spirit. I have also stood on the shoulders of great men like Spurgeon, Edwards, Burrows, Packer, Piper, Sproul, MacArthur, Mahaney, Dever, Grudem, Lewis, Augustine, Stott and many others. I don’t want to deceive you into thinking that I have somehow come up with these things on my own. I do have a prideful tendency to want things to have my name on them…so that I can get credit…I have learned from books written by people smarter than I, articles by people who really know what they are doing…all of which has been “spoon-fed” to me by God Himself. So, how can I boast?
Next, but not in juxtaposition, I am a pastor. That means that I care for and watch over the souls of people. I do not have a “job.” I do not “work” at a church. Therefore, my life is now and will always be transparent before my people. How can I Shepherd the flock of God and not take care of my own family? As you may know, transparency is scary…Because I have many faults as a father and husband. Therefore, the thing that I am modeling for people is not necessarily “how to do family worship” or “how to love my wife and kids” or “how to approach parenting as a preparation for judgment day for my children.” (I do model all those things and practice them and you should too) foremost, however I must model a broken, helpless, needy, fallen, man who is utterly dependent upon God for every breath that I take. I am to model someone who is “happy” in Jesus. Someone who delights in God’s law and meditates on it day and night. I am also to model a motivation of joy and not duty. A getting from God and not giving to Him. What can we possibly give to the God of the universe? We give Him glory by needing, wanting, desiring and taking pleasure in Him.
So, maybe that explains (in part) my inadequacy and the reason that I am blogging and pastoring. So, let me say that I do have a tendency to brag about these righteous acts in my life. Basically pride can be defined as contending for the Supremacy of God. I do that! I do it every day, to my shame. If it were not for the prayers of Jesus and the perservering work of God in my life, I would have committed apostasy long ago! Praise be to God that I am a believer today!
In closing, I want to remind myself and everyone reading that if we do “acts of righteousness” in front of people, we are in danger of sucking away God’s glory. And we will get a reward, but it will be short-lived and forever punished. My goal in this blog, in my ministry is to point people to Jesus, not to Travis. My goal is to remind all of us that if we are breathing today it is because Jesus told our hearts to beat! Swim in mercy, do not drown yourself in the prideful waters of self-reliance and boastful religious contests. I’m going to close now with the words from a hymn that my church sang on Sunday: May God bless you with the knowledge of your utter dependence upon Him; and then the hope of more grace to sustain us until He comes!