Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Reason We Stumble

(Read the comments on this post) Here is the reason we stumble. Think carefully with me. Here is the reason we stumble at the God centeredness of God and the Christ centeredness of Christ. We stumble because we do not know what love means. America has been taught a wrong definition of love for about forty years. I’ve grown up in it, I’m fifty-eight, its all I breathe, if I hadn’t been breathing Bible. The definition of love in America is, you love someone if you make much of them. Or, turn around, you feel loved when someone makes much of you. That’s the air we breathe in America. Every advertising, all parenting philosophy, all public education is built on that definition of love and its false. I’ll give you a quiz to see where you’re on this. Question: Do you feel more loved by God when He makes much of you? Or, When He at great cost to Himself enables you to enjoy making much of Him forever. Which is it? They’re not the same. One you’re at the center, the other God is at the center. I’ll give the alternative definition of love. Love is not making much of someone. Love is laboring, and suffering if necessary, to enthrall another person with what will make them eternally and infinitely happy, namely Christ. I’ll say it again. This is massively important in America because we breathe an air that makes God our lackey. My self-esteem is God, it’s the ground of my health, it’s the ground of my success, it’s the ground of my parenting, it’s the ground of my teaching, it is the air I breathe; don’t call that into question Piper; you get nowhere except maybe at Passion. Where students are already been drawn by some mysterious love for the theme of the glory of God. Let me say it again. Love is not making much of someone. Love is laboring and suffering in order that you might enthrall your enemies, your friends, your family, with that which will make them eternally and infinitely satisfied, namely Christ. That’s what love is. And if it is, then God’s constant exalting of His glory for our enjoyment is the most loving thing He could do. You may not copy Him in this, unless you are God. If, if there were a person in this room infinitely beautiful, infinitely worthy, infinitely valuable, infinitely satisfying the most loving thing for that person to do would be to get attention from all of us and say look at me, look at me, look at me but there is nobody here like that. There is one being in the universe like that, there is one all glorious being, one infinitely valuable being, one all beautiful being, God in Christ crucified and risen and reigning and coming and therefore in order for him to be loving He must say look at me, look at me, look at me. Its not vain, its love. John Piper (Passion 2005, Session 2) References: John 11 and John 17 Watch the video


Laurel Audrey Taylor said...

"Love is laboring and suffering in order that you might enthrall your enemies, your friends, your family, with that which will make them eternally and infinitely satisfied, namely Christ."

What does this mean in practical terms? How does our suffering effect change in others and draw them to Christ?

I know how some people would answer that question, but what does Piper mean?

Gautam said...


Called to Suffer & Rejoice

Anonymous said...

Check out this quote from St. Catherine of Siena:

God says: "It is by means of my servants and their great sufferings that I would be merciful to the world and reform my bride. Truly these [servants] can be called another Christ crucified [...] because they have taken his task upon themselves. He came as a mediator to put an end to the war and reconcile humanity to me in peace by suffering even to the shameful death of crucifixion. In the same must these be crucified and become mediators in prayer, in word, in good holy living, setting themselves up as an example to others."

How do you think this compares to Piper's comment:

"I think the context that we just looked at suggests that Paul's sufferings fill up Christ's not by adding anything to their worth, but by extending them to the people they were meant to bless. What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ is not that they are deficient in worth or merit, as though they could not sufficiently cover the sins of all who believe. What is lacking is that the infinite value of Christ's afflictions are not known in the world. They are still a mystery (hidden) to most peoples. And God's intention is that the mystery be revealed, extended to all the Gentiles. So the afflictions are lacking in the sense that they are not seen and known among the nations. They must be carried by ministers of the word. And those ministers of the word fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ by extending them to others."


Gautam said...

This is from, Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest. (Jan 11)

What My Obedience to God Costs Other People

If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything— it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal. If we obey God, it will mean that other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, "You call this Christianity?" We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.

When our obedience begins to cost others, our human pride entrenches itself and we say, "I will never accept anything from anyone." But we must, or disobey God. We have no right to think that the type of relationships we have with others should be any different from those the Lord Himself had (see Luke 8:1-3 ).

A lack of progress in our spiritual life results when we try to bear all the costs ourselves. And actually, we cannot. Because we are so involved in the universal purposes of God, others are immediately affected by our obedience to Him. Will we remain faithful in our obedience to God and be willing to suffer the humiliation of refusing to be independent? Or will we do just the opposite and say, "I will not cause other people to suffer"? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord. If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him.

Beware of the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience to Him.

Laurel Audrey Taylor said...

It is a terrible suffering, I think, to realize that you are causing someone you love to suffer. I imagine a large part of Jesus’ agony consisted of his knowing how much pain His family and friends were experiencing during His trial and crucifixion.