This week's 'thought' comes to you from a familiar source -- John Piper. It's from his "Desiring God Daily Devotional" selection for June 16, 2013.
As I have mentioned before, his book "Desiring God" is already (in my opinion) a spiritual classic, and a read that helped me immensely in my own walk with the Lord.
I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to read a deep, well-reasoned, spiritually informative, personally formative and biblically-based summary of the Christian faith and life. Should one have adopted the erroneous notion that one cannot be intellectual, academic or highly intelligent and Christian at the same time, this book (along with any by C. S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias, Os Guinness and others) will quickly disabuse you of that false notion.
This selection has to do with correct and incorrect notions of God, and our responses to God in relation to them. To heed Piper's words in this selection could save many a well-meaning Christian much fruitless effort and lead to far more praise and glory being given to God. Enjoy.
"So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him."
(2 Corinthians 5:9)
"What if you discovered (like the Pharisees did), that you had devoted your whole life to trying to please God, but all the while had been doing things that in God’s sight were abominations (Luke 16:14–15)?
Someone may say, “I don’t think that’s possible; God wouldn't reject a person who has been trying to please him.” But do you see what this questioner has done? He has based his conviction about what would please God on his idea of what God is like. That is precisely why we must begin with the character of God.
God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade.
If you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough you work hard to keep it full and useful. But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you've found.
My hope as a desperate sinner hangs on this biblical truth: that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer — my thirst. That is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace."
Piper's words mimic in an identical fashion the idea conveyed to us by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 46:1-4. Read that passage, and contemplate what he's saying, and you will find yourself thanking God that you don't worship an idol (or a god) that needs you to serve it, but a God who is so infinitely adequate and self-complete that He offers to serve you instead of needing you (as with the idol's Bel and Nebo in Isaiah 46) to habitually serve them.
Bel and Nebo were huge carved stone statues that had to be carried on carts (sometimes hundreds of miles) into battle by the soldiers. Picture it. Their need to be "carried" made it exhausting to "serve" them, while the God of the Bible, out of the inexhaustible riches of who He is, offers instead to "carry" us.
Grateful we serve a God who is like a self-replenishing spring! In Him, Pastor Jeff