Wednesday, 5 March 2014

DWYL - Chapter Four

We need a recap of the first three chapters before we can handle even the title of chapter four.  So remember in Chapter One we learnt that we need to search for a single passion to live by, that our own personal experiences aren't enough to develop a life that won't be a waste. There has to be something objective which we can grasp... cling to that gives us a single passion which will point to an unwasted life. We were introduced to the objective nature of Jesus, because in Chapter Two it was revealed that the Beauty of Christ is our ultimate joy. What Jesus has done for us is objective (it doesn't rely on any of our own personal experiences) and so we can look to Him as the ultimate truth, and He provides ultimate joy. And God is most glorified when we enjoy magnifying His Name.  In Chapter Three we then saw the very centre of the beauty of Jesus (which is our ultimate joy) is seen in the Cross of Christ.  What Jesus did on the cross is the ultimate act of love and grace... the most important objective thing that impacts our lives - so much so that anything else is a mere shadow and the cross is the single passion we must live by.

We need to remember all that, otherwise the title of Chapter Four will send us running for the hills. "Magnifying Christ through Pain and Death". Not something we might particularly look forward too... but why shouldn't we if we can magnify Jesus through it.  In some cases our timidness and scaredness of experiencing pain or suffering is the biggest hindrance to us sharing our faith.
Living to magnify Christ is costly. This is not surprising. He was crucified. He was treated like a devil. And he calls us to follow him. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34).  He says it will probably not go better for us than for him. "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household" (Matthew 10:25).
But suffering with Jesus on the Calvary road of love is not merely the result of magnifying Christ; it is also the means. He is made supreme when we are so satisfied in him that we can "let goods and kindred go, this mortal like also" and suffer for the sake of love. His beauty shines most brightly when treasured above health and wealth and life itself. Jesus knew this. He knew that suffering... would be the path in this age for making him most visibly supreme. That is why he calls us to this. He loves us. And love does not mean making much of us or making life easy. It means making us able to enjoy making much of him forever - no matter what it costs.
~John Piper, DWYL, p61-62
Jesus tells us to go suffer because He loves us. A paradoxical idea to the world for sure, but Christians should realise that Jesus' love is shown when He gives us the opportunity to glorify Him (because we can always enjoy glorifying Him).

So the point a believer must come to is this; do you value Jesus about life itself?

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