Why am I writing a post about my birthday?
Before I answer that, I am relieved and eager to share with you that my 3.5 hour surgery on November 10 was a success. In fact, it turned out to be less complicated than the doctors originally anticipated! However, I have been in significant pain, so your continued prayers are appreciated.
I am being discharged from the hospital today, and will spend the remainder of the year recovering. Thank you so much for your support. I tried to read as many of your emails and comments on social media as I could. It was a sweet blessing to have right before surgery.
Ok, back to my original question: Why am I writing a post about my birthday?
Not because I hope you log on to Amazon.com and rush me a gift, although Amazon's delivery system is quite efficient, if you're so inclined! Rather, I simply want to share three things I'm reminded of with every passing year.
1. Count My Blessings
I have walked with the Lord and studied his Word for many, many years, longer than I would like to admit. Over these years, I have gained a high level of biblical literacy and a solid understanding of the theology of the Word of God. I have sat under Christ-centered, grace-filled preaching.
I have a library filled with grace-filled books. I have an understanding of the glories of redeeming grace that I did not have for many of my years as God's child. I have surely grown in my faith.
I have been involved in many ministry enterprises in many locations. What God has called me to do has taken me to almost every continent to fellowship and serve with God's people there.
I'm married to a godly wife who encourages my faith.
This birthday, like many others, stimulates me to count my blessings, and they really are many.
2. Reject Spiritual Autonomy
There's one thing today that confronts me as it did the year before.
With all the celebration and blessing I experience each November 12th, there's something I have to repeat to myself each year (and every day for that matter): Paul Tripp is not a grace graduate.
I'm still tempted to think that my way is better. No, not in big, grand, public sins, but in the more subtle and acceptable sins of pride, impatience, failure to be gentle, loving myself more than my neighbor, and loving pieces of the creation more than I should.
It's embarrassing to admit that all of this is fueled by a grand delusion that I thought I had conquered long ago. It's a delusion that I have expounded much in my writing and my speaking. It's the lie of lies, the lie that was first told in the garden and that has been repeated a billion times since.
Believing this lie not only turns you into a fool, but it also makes you a rebel against your heavenly Father. What's this lie? That life can be found outside of the Creator.
This year, as I celebrate another year of physical life, I need to remind myself that spiritual life is only ever found inside the Creator.
3. Seek A Bigger Kingdom
We all want lasting rest and sturdy peace of heart. We want to be able to quit searching and have hearts that are satisfied. But we forget that real rest of heart is never found on the other side of the Creator's boundaries.
Peace and rest are always found when we give our hearts in submission to the Savior. Rest is found in these words: "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
This birthday, I want to say to God: "May your kingdom come in all that I think, desire, and say. May your kingdom come in my marriage and in my family. May your kingdom come in my work. May your kingdom come in my leisure. May your kingdom so rule my heart that stepping over your boundaries would no longer be attractive to me."
That is my prayer for myself, and for all who read this today.