During the convocation service for Southwestern’s J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, Jan. 22, Southwestern President Paige Patterson extended a challenge to those students who have been called to “preach the Word.” Preaching from Romans 13:11-14, Patterson urged students to live their lives according to God’s Word, resisting all worldly temptations.

Referencing a national survey that ranked various professions according to the public’s perception of their trustworthiness, Patterson noted the disappointing ranking of ministers of the Gospel. “You should not be No. 9 in social consciousness for those who are spiritually reliable,” Patterson said. “You should be No. 1.”

If Christians are to demonstrate a life that reflects Christ, they must strive to live their lives in conformity with God’s Word—even when it is costly. “We must always keep in mind that what God has called us to is a chosen time,” Patterson said. “When God has chosen to reveal Himself in a certain way or to do a certain thing, Paul says we need to realize first of all as believers that we have been born again. That puts us into God’s time.”

Pastors have a unique role in the lives of their congregation, Patterson said. Pastors serve others during some of life’s most significant moments: birth, salvation, marriage and death. With such an important task, pastors must guard against worldly temptations.

Then reading from Romans 13:14, Patterson concluded with a warning to “make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Patterson said the problem is not always the devil’s lies or temptations, but one’s own persistence in “making provisions for the lusts of the flesh.”

“Wherever there is heat in your heart to have something that God has not chosen to give, then it becomes lust,” Patterson said. “And God says that ought not to be true.”

In addition to Patterson’s sermon, the convocation service featured corporate worship, the public reading of Scripture, and the welcoming of newly appointed faculty member Brad Heller, assistant professor of English. Heller has taught at Southwestern’s Havard campus since 2011 as well as at Southwestern’s Darrington Prison Extension Campus.