I am certainly excited to begin sharing the details of my online journey at Westminster Seminary, after completing a Masters degree in Biblical Counseling, over the last three years.
Taking a sip out of my new coffee mug, I look to its message and I am so grateful to all for voicing their many congratulations, feeling the many pats on my back, and seeing the joy on others’ faces (especially those from my family – who are so glad to have me back).
But God (those Gospel Words) has also helped me interpret “You Did It,” in quite a different way. You see, my last two semesters at school were difficult ones. A perfect storm of personal, work, school issues and sickness had taken me by surprise and were weighing me down. I was feeling that I could pridefully finish strong, proving that “I could do it all”, but now everything was disintegrating right before my eyes. I could see my creativity waning, my energy sapped and I was struggling with lust, anger and double minded thoughts. I had every reason to be concerned and ask: What was wrong?
Well quite simply, I took a look in the mirror and saw that I was relying on my own efforts to get my work done. It was in this Nebuchadnezzar moment that my self-righteousness was revealed as the struggle. I hadn’t asked God for His Wisdom and Guidance – it was all about me just doing it. But now, in this frailty I realized I could say again what I have only humbly learned to say so many times before:
I can’t do this.
I really can’t do any of this.
Right then and there in the midst of those life’s struggles I hear God’s mighty whisper:
“That is right you can’t do this, but in Christ you can do all things.”
My time at Westminster certainly has been invaluable with incredible opportunities to enrich my knowledge. But my accolades cannot and do not define who I am today. Through it all I humbly see the importance of the wisdom of the living and active Word of God in my life, and the Holy Spirit transforming me from my self-centeredness to understanding how the Lord will build me up as I hear God speaking to me even louder through the words of Isaiah 41:10:
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Please, come join me for a cup of coffee or tea, (I’ll even let you use my mug!) where we can build bridges and relationships by loving God and loving our neighbors (Mark 12:30-31) as we help and guide one-another. Or, we can explore just what it looks like to live in the power of humility. What about challenging one another and finding our strength through Christ in the midst of all our struggles saying; “I certainly look forward to seeing what God will be doing with this?” Feeling adventurous? Let’s talk about how influential Apologetics is in all we do as Christians.
I praise God for how He continues to build us up. Please know that now when I say “You Did It” I am pointing to the way, the truth and the life through Christ alone.
Werner Tretner is a Deacon and the Director of Celebrate Recovery.