Chapter 168

The Importance of Being Urgent

Overcoming things that defuse sincere passion

One of the ways carnality plays itself out in me is to be automatically focused more on How am I doing? Is this connecting? Are people being attentive? Do they think it's going well? One area I want to grow is to be able to let go of that. I want my goal to be simply to help people take their next step toward God.

When I can do that, on the one hand it relieves a lot of personal anxiety because it's no longer my well-being or sense of value on the line. On the other hand, it makes preaching much more important because if preaching is just about trying to convince people they should like me, that's a trivial task. But if it is about the proclamation of the Word of God and allowing the Spirit to form Christ in people's hearts, then it is an authentically urgent task.

When preaching is at its best, it is not a series of compartmentalized statements. "Here is a didactic proposition… . Here's an example… . Here's a joke to relieve tension… . Here's application." That approach to preaching often feels stilted and canned and artificial. When preaching is done at its best, it all melds together, and the heart is deeply stirred. And often there's a sense of fierce joy and deep challenge combined with each other.

When that happens, that's preaching.