Yesterday I had a semi-crisis of wondering what I believed about something. Because I didn’t know what I believed, I took up the belief of someone else… really, I was ignoring truth because I wanted my sin so much.
During the crisis, I was reading a sermon by John Piper. Even as I skimmed it, I didn’t appreciate the truth it held and didn’t want to listen- still, it changed my life. here are some of the highlights:
“So I turned off the radio and said out loud from memory, slowly and moved with wonder,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)
I let everything I saw – the grass by the road, the grain elevators, the construction equipment, the McDonalds and Burger King – I let it all be caught up into that great coming reality. “Behold I make all things new.” It’s all going to be new. And sin and pain will be gone. And God will be the center.
And I arrived at the airport and parked and walked in and headed down Concourse E to Gate 10. And everything I saw was in connection with this great coming reality. I wasn’t in a stupor. I could still see: the casino ad, but there was no desire to get rich with this brief world; the short skirts and provocative dress (I still saw it), but there was no slavery to fantasizing or lust; the confectioner’s smells and the frozen yogurt shop, but there was no bondage to appetite. Everything had its place in this world (some good, some bad), and this world was overshadowed by something far greater.
And I thought, Most of these people live in a dream, thinking that this world is the main reality. Of course, it is real. And we must live here. It’s our calling. God put us here. But compared to what is coming, it is not great. And it only gets its true significance in relation to the great things of God. You don’t have to be a pastor to set your mind on things that are above.
– John Piper, Do Not Let Sin Reign in Your Mortal Body, Part 1
Isn’t that sensational? It’s like the sunlight unexpectedly fell on a stained glass window and transformed it. Slowly, I saw things more clearly in my spiritual life. All day, I thought long thoughts about it- hardly even turned on my mp3 player. Maybe the cause of my frustration and guilt is that I have let the world be the source of my greatest joy… I have rarely looked at things and seen the greater reality of God. John Piper also said something to the effect that trying to satisfy yourself by your own efforts is like being at the Grand Canyon, turning your back to it, digging a trench, and looking at it instead – full of pride and completely blind to the greatness of God. How blind I have been, and faithless to trust in things other than God to bring me joy. By His Word and prayer, I shall behold Him and be changed. Rejoice not over me, oh mine enemy! when I fall, I shall arise! I will not spend the rest of my life trying to satisfy myself. Dear God, drive from me the fruitless joys that I fear to lose… drive them from me and take their place. be my true and sovereign Joy!