Wednesday, 19 February 2014

DWYL - Chapter Two

'The Beauty of Christ, My Joy': That's the title of this chapter and every Christian will acknowledge they know the truth of the statement - many of us have sung about it since Sunday School.  But where in our lives is that truth encapsulated??? Why are we depressed? Why are we stressed? Why do we give up? Why do we complain? How is the beauty of Christ being our joy reflected in ANY of that?

[Please don't think I am minimalising the seriousness of mental illness, but even so there is nothing completely helpless in this world]

It's one of those things we just acknowledge but don't apply... or we don't truly find that joy and we just say we do so we fit in.  Maybe the first step to finding Christ as your joy is to actually confess that at the moment He is not.

Last chapter we looked at a single passion to live by, but did you know God has a single passion which He lives by as well.  God lives to bring glory to God.  That sounds a little self centred - until you understand the nature of God.  God's nature is for Him to be totally true - which means He must do what is best, He must acknowledge what is best - and God's nature is also completely holy - which means He is set apart from everything else, because He is perfect, He is the best!

So if God is the best, and in His truth He has to point to the best, then logically, and naturally, He must point everyone to Himself.  It's not about ego, or arrogance, but it is about truth and wanting the best for everyone... it is just that the best He wants for everyone simply happens to be Himself.
With these discoveries I now felt free to affirm God's purpose for my life revealed ion the Bible. I didn't have to be afraid that I must choose between what is right and what is inevitable - between pursuing his glory and pursuing my joy. I was free to experience the single passion for God's supremacy in all things for the joy of all peoples. I was rescued from the wasted life. Now life could have an ultimate meaning - the same meaning God's life has: enjoying and displaying his greatness.
~John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, p37
Humans inevitably pursue their own happiness. That's our natural progression - to be happy.  For so many, they cannot align seeking their own happiness and glorifying God... what makes them happy could never bring God glory.  Many Christians fight with this as well, for some it means a wasted life - 60 years sitting in a church but constantly seeking your own happiness and having no Gospel effect.  For others it leads to complaining, stress and depression as they cannot find happiness on their own, knowing God can provide but still trying to do it themselves.

But what Piper is saying in this chapter, and the truth that is revealed in the Bible is that you can be happy pursuing God's glory.  Think about it... the reason God glorifies Himself is because He knows He is the best thing that could ever happen to us.  If God knows that - then we can experience it.  Through Jesus, our relationship with God is the BEST THING THAT CAN EVER HAPPEN TO US! We need to stop looking for more, because 'more' just disappoints. Spend your time contemplating that the beauty of what Jesus has done will bring you ultimate joy, and you won't be able to help but glorify God.

Whatever you do today, before you do it... remember the beauty of Christ - and what He has done for you - then do whatever you have to do, but do it to glorify God... and you will find your happiness and your passion to glorify God will become one and the same.

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