I came across this helpful little article while preparing last Sunday’s sermon on John 21:15-25 and wanted to share it with you:
I’ve only just realised the date on it - it was written a number of years ago now but it still rings true. The author, John Piper, is probably one of the most gifted preachers of our time. I certainly find him very engaging and inspiring …so to read of his struggles with comparison to others is enlightening.
As I mentioned briefly in my sermon, comparison comes so naturally to us and, as Piper’s blog post demonstrates, church ministers are not immune! We might think we’re better in a particular area of life than someone else and feel good about ourselves (i.e. proud). Conversely, we might compare and think we’re worse than someone else and feel bad, which is inverted pride. If we’re going to make a comparison, maybe it’s safest to stick to the Lord Jesus, realise how far short we fall of his goodness and purity, and praise him with renewed gratitude and humility for living the life we should have lived and then laying down his life for us.
Isn’t it great that gaining eternal life isn’t a competition but a gift of grace from God?! People around us might ‘disqualify’ us or we might feel that we disqualify ourselves through our own failings. However, the apostle Paul reminds us that God the Father has “qualified” us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in his kingdom. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
That’s a little taster of Colossians as we begin our new series on Sunday mornings (see chapter 1, verses 12-14).
If you want to read, think and pray more about this topic, there’s a great little book for women which a few female church members have read (https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/compared-to-her). And men: hopefully a Christian writer is using lockdown to write a book for us because I’m sure we struggle with it just as much!
Keep following Jesus (John 21:19, 22).
Love in him,
This is worth pondering as we endure this current crisis:
The truth is that God's word can be relied upon. It does not decay and fade away as we do, but stands for ever. The person who cannot rest his or her whole weight on the word of God can never know peace, for in the last analysis, it can be found nowhere else than in a trusting relationship with the God who made us and rightly claims us as his own. Reliance on the word of God is not fatalistic or superstitious. It is not trust in something impersonal like the stars or a good luck charm. It is trust in a person who is committed to us and has all the resources necessary to care for us. It is the word of our God that Isaiah speaks of, a word or message that arises from a relationship. And the truth is that God's word has the same character as God himself. It is as unchanging and reliable as the God who speaks it.
Barry Webb, The Message of Isaiah, p.163
Should I post some more "Plants our Teachers" posts & photos?!
We hope and pray that the SPLOG (St Peter's blog) will provide encouragement & spiritual food during the coronavirus crisis. It's mainly for the St Peter's church family, but everyone's welcome to read it!