New Article: "The Paradoxical Pastoral Piety of the Lord’s Prayer"
New Article on the Gospel Reformation Network
My newest article, “The Paradoxical Pastoral Piety of the Lord’s Prayer,” went live on the Gospel Reformation Network:
Pastoral ministry is a true paradox. Pastors must be tough enough to “wage the good warfare” while also remaining gentle enough to resemble “a nursing mother taking care of her children” (1 Tim. 1:18; 1 Thess. 2:7). Our call is to fight off the fierce wolves who would not spare the flock, and also to seek out the lost, bind up the injured, and strengthen the weak (Acts 20:29; Ezek. 34:16). We must act like men and be strong, but not break the bruised reed or quench the smoldering wick (1 Cor. 16:13; Matt. 12:20).
Every sincere pastor knows the difficulty of striking this balance in the heat of spiritual battle. In our sinful flesh, we are quick to pick a fight and, perplexingly, just as quick to retreat into passivity. Yet, as willing as our spirit may be, our flesh is weak—indeed, incapable—of speaking perfect truth in perfect love (Matt. 26:41; Eph. 4:15).
In this article, we will consider weapons for spiritual warfare that the Lord has given toward this end—not weapons of the flesh, but weapons of divine power (2 Cor. 10:4). Specifically, we will explore the Lord’s Prayer as a resource for cultivating paradoxical pastoral piety of fierce humility and meek boldness.
This article arose from the overflow of my recent sermon on the Lord’s Prayer:
For even more on this topic, check out my sermon notes:
In Matthew 6:1–18, Jesus confronts three forms of the hypocrisy of “practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them” (Matt. 6:1): in giving to the poor (Matt. 6:2–4), in prayer (Matt. 6:5–6), and in fasting (Matt. 6:16–18). After Jesus deals with hypocritical prayer that seeks to be seen by other people, he offers one of the most important side comments ever to have been uttered in Matt. 6:7–15. Here, Jesus teaches us how to pray when we are in secret, instructions that even include our Lord’s Prayer. In the prayer that he teaches, Jesus captures a striking paradox within prayer: we pray to Almighty God as children speaking with our Father.
May the Lord teach us to pray as children coming to our Father in heaven!
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