I found this post stored in the ‘drafts’ section of my site and had completely forgotten about it, probably because I was half alive when I wrote it several months ago, and it faded from memory. It’s not bad, although it ends kind of abruptly! Hope you enjoy!
If you’ve ever stayed up till 5:30am with middle and high schoolers, running around, hanging out, and talking till the thin hours of the dawn, you know where I’m at now. We woke up at about 9, so I presently have 3.5 hours of sleeping-on-the-ground-next-to-restless-middle-school-boys-sleep in me.
I’m chugging coffee in a coffee shop right now.
The kids in my youth group are by far the best. I love them so much it hurts. And it is often in times like this, when my brain is fueled by caffeine more than blood, that my social inhibitors drop off and I can think more clearly. Or maybe that’s just what I think through this thick veil of drowsiness.
But it is here in the morning, scraping by on the scraps of sleep in my organs, that I am remembering what is really important. Sometimes the scrambling and deprivation of my brain strangely helps to reorient me toward what is really important, namely, that Jesus is the only thing worth living and working toward.
I recently began rereading John Piper’s masterwork, Desiring God, and am being drawn back toward that realization I had years ago about the allure of Christ. He is beautiful, satisfying.
Spend too much time filling your mind with worldly things and it’s amazing how quickly we can drift away from this truth.
I remember when this clicked for me for the first time. I remember when I realized that God wants me to be satisfied 100%. He is not for the reduction or elimination of my pleasure.
No, He is completely for my pleasure and yours.
We are taking a thin slice of pie and scraping a sliver of whipped cream onto it, trying to satisfy ourselves, while He offers us a gigantic slice of freshly harvested, warm pie with so much whipped cream heaped on top you can’t even see the plate.
Lewis points out that if what God really offers us is beyond our comprehension, and the satisfaction He promises cannot even be adequately anticipated in this lifetime, then we cannot know the pleasure of it now. I think that to a big degree, that’s exactly what faith is: Trusting that the coming satisfaction and joy is greater than the measly scraps of happiness we can gather in this short little life.
I spend a lot of time writing about peripheral issues such as porn, relationships and dating. They are not unimportant, and I believe everything I write to be true. But of what value are they if not rooted in the Word of God and the person of Christ?
I just finished preparing tomorrow’s Sunday School lesson and we are talking about Who Jesus is. I’m looking forward to explaining the difference between the person and the work of Christ. We often speak solely of the work He did and neglect Him as a person. His work is everything He did in the past–coming to earth, living a perfect life, dying, rising from the dead, and ascending–and everything He continues to do–praying for the saints and preparing a home for us.
Usually our gospel presentations describe something about Jesus dying for our sins, but that declaration is limp if we do not know who He is. Anyone can die; they can even say they are dying for someone else, but what matters is who they are. When someone claims to be God incarnate, and He comes to die for the salvation of the world, things change.
We are saved because God died in our place.
We are saved because Jesus is a person who draws us up and into Himself.
I think many of us are also familiar with the terminology of Christianity being a ‘relationship, not a religion’ (I have my own issues with that phrase but that’s for a different post), but we give little theological thought to the other person in this relationship. If I’m honest, a lot of my thoughts on my faith has to do with me, more than with Him.
How well would that work in a human relationship? What if I was a husband who had little interest in my wife, yet always spouted off about how she benefits me and our relationship is so beautiful, etc, etc, but I have no interest in who she is as a person?
Who Jesus is is important.
Gregory of Nazianzus said, “Whatever was not assumed cannot be healed.”
Christ assumed the entirety of our humanity in order to save and redeem it. He took on our broken minds, our abused bodies, and our selfish desires. He inhabited a body that could break and be killed. His body got dirty, smelled, pooped, and peed.
He is fully God, fully man. He is the source of all true satisfaction, even though 99% of the time it doesn’t feel like it.
Do you know Him?
Without this foundation of the person of Jesus, nothing else I write has meaning or import. I am being refreshed by Piper’s scripture-saturated book, and it is reminding me of the centrality of focusing our lives and thoughts on Him, that all else will fall away and not matter a billion years from now.
How powerful. Glad you found it and published it. “Whatever was not assumed cannot be healed.” … Amen!
Be blessed. God is in a stunningly good mood.
This is beautiful, thank you. Constantly learning to sit before the feet of Christ to know (and hopefully emulate) Him. Also love your definition of faith through your reworking of C.S. Lewis’s quote.
Wonderful post and a reminder that I need to read Piper’s Desiring God.
“Do you know him?” Not as well as I need to and every day is one more step towards that.