15 November 2008

Bleeding Out Our Pride

I was strengthened upon reading Paul Kooistra's most recent words in his MTW (Mission to the World, missions agency of the PCA) newsletter, in a short piece entitled "Strength through Weakness." From the little bits and pieces I have gathered of his life, I believe he learned what he says firsthand.

The foundational principle of grace is that God's kingdom priorities are completely inverted from those of the world. God's plan is to magnify His saving mercy and grace not through human strength, but rather through its weakness. . . . God must wound us so we bleed pride and self-sufficiency before we are any good for His service.

--Network, Fall 2008, back cover

I took a class with Dr. Kooistra in January 2004 called simply "Living in Grace." Kooistra is a past president of Covenant Seminary and now the head of MTW. You might expect a rigid, sure, solemn man. Au contraire. He is one of the most relaxed leaders I've ever observed. He shared in class and has shared numerous times when he speaks, and so I expect he wouldn't mind my sharing here, that he had a mid-life nervous breakdown. The cure? Rediscovering grace. It changed him permanently, and it is a joy to see someone in significant leadership who is not self-conscious, not worried about his image, relaxed, okay with himself. Praise the Lord of grace. He can do it for you and me too. May God get us there (without a nervous breakdown).


Gavin Ortlund said...

Awesome quote! I am going to use that one in my sermon. Thank you.

Eric said...

That's a great post, Dane. I've been trying to make a conscious effort to relax and enjoy myself these days: A cheerful heart has a continual feast, tomorrow will worry about itself, etc. I'm amazed at how much of my energy goes toward worrying about things I can't change.