Not long ago, I took an eight-month leave of absence from my pastoral duties. No preaching. No book-writing. No blogging. No tweeting. No church responsibilities. I called it a soul check. With the help of my wife, Noël, and a counselor, I did more soul-searching than I can remember ever doing before. I wanted to know my most intransigent sins. And I wanted to make war on them in fresh ways.

So let me give you a summary diagnosis of some of John Piper's most besetting sins. I have fought them for decades. I think my wife would say I am winning a few battles since the leave of absence. How those battles are being fought is what this article is about.

But first, the diagnosis. Everyone should do this for his own soul. Pastors, you will know your people's souls best by knowing your own. So try to be ruthlessly honest with yourself. The key here is not professionalism. The best soul-searcher and the best counselor may have no letters after their names. The key is brutal, broken vulnerability ...

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