Humble Honest Intrusive Intentional

From Paul Tripp Ministries


I wrote last week that ecclesiastical consumerism has seriously weakened the church. The mentality of a “passive body that pays the professionals” is not what God designed for the body of Christ (see Ephesians 4:11-16).

In the same way, a similar theme found throughout the New Testament is that your walk with God is a community project. Anonymous, isolated, “Jesus and me” Christianity is unbiblical.

I was teaching on the community aspect of Christianity at a conference once, and an attendee stopped me during the break. “But Paul, if I have the New Testament in my hands and the Holy Spirit of the New Testament in my heart, why do I need the ministry of others?”

On the surface, it sounds like a fair question. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is the Wonderful Counselor of the church. He enables us to understand God’s Word, convicts us of sin, works in us a willingness to obey, and enables us to do what we have been called by God to do.

But you could also use the same flawed logic to argue that you don’t need public worship and the public ministry of the Word at church every week.

This mindset of “I only need the Bible and the Holy Spirit” misses so much of what the New Testament describes as necessary in our sanctification process. On the contrary, the writer of Hebrews provides this powerful argument as to why we need the personal ministry of others:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

What a terrifying progression! How could this ever happen to a believer? Because of the deceiving power of indwelling sin.

On the cross and by the resurrection, Christ broke the power of sin over us (Romans 6:1–14). But the presence of deceitful sin still remains.

Sin blinds, and guess who gets blinded first? Christ captures this truth with his word picture in Matthew 7. He says we can see a speck of dust in our neighbor’s eye, but we are oblivious to a huge piece of lumber sticking out of our own!

Notice also from this passage that there are no “haves” and “have nots” here. There is no group that has arrived spiritually and therefore can provide all the ministry to a group of strugglers. This passage teaches that everybody ministers, and everybody needs ministry.

Each of us needs help, and each of us is called to offer it. Spiritual accuracy and insight is the product of community.

I need you in order to really see and know myself. Otherwise, I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies, and buy into my own delusions. If I am going to see myself clearly, I need you to hold the mirror of God’s Word in front of me.

As Christians who still have pockets of spiritual blindness, we need two character qualities:

First, we need the loving courage of honesty. We need to love others more than we love ourselves, and so, with humble, patient love, help them to see what they need to see.

Second, we need the thankful humility of approachability. We need to forsake defensiveness, be thankful that God has surrounded us with help, and be ready to receive it—every day!

I need to wake up in the morning and say, “God, I am a person in desperate need of help. Please send helpers my way and give me the humility to receive the help you have provided.”

And I need to pray further, “Lord, make me willing to help someone see themselves as you see them today.”

We need to live in humble, honest, intrusive, and intentional community with one another, where personal ministry that goes both ways is part of the daily culture.

Do we really need the help of our brothers and sisters? Do they really need ours? The biblical answer is a resounding yes!

A Prayer for Today: God, would you send helpers my way and give me the humility to receive the help you have provided? And Lord, would you make me willing to help someone see themselves as you see them today? In your name, amen.

God bless,

Paul David Tripp



Discussion Prompt for Children

How do you think God can use other people to help us become more like Jesus? How do you think God can use you to encourage others to become more like Jesus? Why is it important to become more like Jesus and help other Christians to do the same?

Reflection Questions

1. Why is “Jesus and me” Christianity unbiblical? How have you (willingly or unwillingly) adopted that mentality over the years?

2. What has prevented you from engaging with others in a way that Hebrews 3:13 talks about? How has the deceiving power of sin blinded you to areas that would otherwise be easily pointed out by fellow loving believers in your life? Why do you think it might be easy for you to point out the speck of dust in someone else’s eye and yet neglect to see the giant piece of lumber in your own eye?

3. How has community developed spiritual accuracy and insight in your life? Who are the people you really need in order to genuinely see and know yourself? In what ways have you been able to see yourself more clearly as a result of others holding up the mirror of God’s Word in front of you?

4. In humble, patient love, who have you helped to see themselves in a way that brought about godly change in their life/lives? Who has helped you this way?

5. Is humble approachability the character trait you would use to describe yourself when you think about how God might bring about change in your life? Take some time to pray that God would shape you more and more each day into the kind of person who is willing to listen and change. And pray that God would use you to help others become more and more like Jesus as well.

Humble Honest Intrusive Intentional

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

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