This brief series of posts is connected to my favorite message moments from this year’s gathering. I might have missed your favorite, but these are the pieces still pinball-ing around my heart. Glory to God for His mercy and kindness in meeting us for those special days!
Part Two – Dr. John Piper [text: Job 22:24-26]
Dr. Piper called us, as he has for many years, to delight in the Almighty. His message was thick, following an outline of two questions. I will divide it between two blog posts.
“What is it like to delight in God?” (John Piper) Put a different way, “What is the actual experience of enjoying God?”
Piper’s resolution of the question reminded us to enjoy the person God more than His gifts. For, “If our enjoyment terminates on His gifts, we are idolaters.” (John Piper)
Motives matter within relationships. Why do we love our parents? Why do I love my spouse? Why do we love our friends? Certainly, we cannot discount the benefits inherent in these relationships. The things our parents and spouses and friends do for us tighten the existing bonds of affection. Yet the pure of heart can say the benefits are at most secondary.
True love is not illustrated in a transaction. If you enjoy a parent or spouse or friend simply for what they can do for you, it is not love. It is a relationship of manipulation, using the person for advantage. You angle and beguile for gain.
Sadly, we all know of people who allow another to use them month after month, year upon year. It is never this way with God. He cannot be used. He will not be manipulated. To claim enjoyment of God only for the blessings He provides is offensive. He will not be mocked. Conversely, He is eager that you and I enjoy Him. He knows there is no thing or person better for our souls. He knows it would be unloving to point us toward delight in anything else.
Dr. Piper showed from Scripture that indeed we get to know the person of God through the things He created, through ideas and beliefs constructed in the Word, and through observing God’s patterns of action. These teach us that our Father is loving and powerful and infinitely wise. These enable us to see and savor Him, but we must keep watch over our motives in the relationship.
Do you truly delight in the person of God?
- Do you speak delight in the sunset without a connection to the Creator?
- Do you love theology more than you love Jesus?
- Do you crave provision of a job or a spouse—more than you enjoy communion with the Father?
Can you say with Paul: “I want to know Christ…” (Philippians 3:10 NIV)
Can you say with the psalmist: “As the deer pants from streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)
A blessing—help, an answer, healing, rescue, etc.—is good, but the person of God is supreme. Blessings carry the kindness of God, but only represent His infinite goodness. Blessings are evidences of grace, like shadows confirming the existence of great light, while still vastly inferior to the source. A blessing could be thought of as a painting in the way it is just one expression of an artist. However praise-worthy the thing, worship is reserved for the creator.
Do you love the person of God more than you love His gifts?
- When help does not come, do you still love Him?
- When the answer is not given, do you still enjoy Him?
- When healing is not granted in this world, do you still trust and praise the wisdom of Heaven?
- When rescue doesn’t happen, do you worship Jesus with unphased passion?
If we are truly alive in Christ, we do not need convincing that Jesus is beautiful, glorious, and endlessly easy to enjoy. Yet if you need your affections stirred, read the Psalms. And as a supplement, consider A.W. Tozer’s book, The Knowledge of the Holy. It could lead you to fresh delight in God.
“Be supremely satisfied in what is supremely satisfying.” (John Piper)