Glorify & Enjoy
Over the past couple months I have been reading through John Piper's Desiring God. I have watched a few sermons by John Piper and seen the Desiring God tweets every now and then but never really thought about picking up his book. For my birthday this past September, my sister decided to take the initiative and buy the book for me. As I was reading through the 700+ page Bonhoeffer biography at the time, John Piper took a seat on the bookshelf for a few months. But as I was packing my carry-on for Christmas break, I decided I would bring Desiring God along to read during my flights and layovers. Once I had managed to find my terminal at the airport, I pulled out Desiring God and happened upon a little sticky-note on the title page that read:
"Get WRECKED —God"
My sister and I have a very idiosyncratic understanding of what one can expect when God is moving and working. I have heard it described as a feeling or a very strong emotion but when my sister and I share God-things, praises, and lessons we are being taught, we use a very specific vocabulary. So when my sister was "inspired" to write that sticky-note, she understood that God was going to use that book as a means to further my knowledge of Him while developing an even deeper appreciation for the blessings He has bestowed upon me. In the first chapter of Desiring God, John Piper quotes the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which states:
"The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."
As I have matured in my faith, I have really began to seek out my purpose in this life. In a society so focused on identity and the development of that identity, one can feel absolutely lost and abandoned when a sense of purpose or direction is absent. For the majority of my Christian walk I have struggled to really settle into my purpose or even begin to fully understand why God has me on the earth. But once I read through that first quote it was like the veil had been lifted.
The idea behind God completely "wrecking" something deals largely with the shattering of misled ideas or false preconceived notions. It can be compared to a candle being lit in a dark room. At the lighting of the candle, light fills every corner, removing the dark shroud that once thickly covered the room. This is how God generally works in my own life. He reveals Himself in some small way or minute detail of His character and completely shakes the foundations of my soul. This new knowledge and wisdom encourages me to seek more of God's truth, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of Who God is.
In the chaotic and consistently overwhelming times of life, seldom do we stop to recognize God's desire to do something great in our lives. We become so infatuated with our day-planners, our homework checklists, and our iCal apps to even see God attempting to bless us with a ministry opportunity or the chance to learn more about Him. We become so enveloped with all that we must do in our daily lives that we forget to consider the actions that affect out eternal lives.
I believe a lot of wisdom, both practical and applicable, can come from reflecting upon the Westminster Shorter Catechism. When we come into understanding that our ultimate purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, our daily activities and concerns begin to seem a little less important. The seemingly significant things we participate in daily become a little less significant.
As Christians, we must always be looking to glorify God in every action, word, or deed. This does not mean we become legalistic or pharisaic by any means, but our desire to glorify God should always be at the fore-front of our minds. The final part of the catechism is equal in importance. God designed us to enjoy His creation. We do not worship the things that God has made but instead give Him glory for making them.
A statement that John Piper makes throughout his book has stuck with me as I have continued in reading. Piper, describing himself as a "Christian Hedonist" believes:
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
As I have really begun to meditate upon this statement, I have started to understand why Piper has considered this mindset to be central to the philosophy of Christian Hedonism. When we consciously take the time to reflect upon God's love, grace, and faithfulness to us, we cannot help but glorify and praise Him. Our understanding of His undeserved love for us reminds us how truly blessed we are that we serve a God so good, so righteous, and so holy. When we enter into a relationship with Christ, we learn of how truly depraved and broken we were before Christ saved us.
Our relationship and faith in Christ is what gives us the opportunity to become His righteousness and His ambassadors in this world.
Live this life as a mirror of God's mighty work in you, always presenting truth and displaying the love of Christ.
"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your work to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness"