For nearly three decades, John Piper has preached a message of God-centered exultation (and exaltation). He has traveled the country proclaiming that God’s greatest interest is…God. And if you have read him, you know of his passion for expository exaltation of this singular truth–white-hot worship of the all-glorious God.
Most recently, Piper took his message to a much more challenging audience–the ETS meeting at Providence, Rhode Island. He presented a brief 7-point presentation, which synthesized his fundamental argument that “God is not a meglomaniac when he demands worship.” Expansions of this argument can be found in his books Desiring God, The Pleasures of God, and Let the Nations Be Glad. I am immensely grateful for these books and their vision of God. One quote stuck out today as I read this theocentric mandates was this:
This [God’s Godwardness] is not megalomania because, unlike our self-exaltation, God’s self-exaltation draws attention to what gives greatest and longest joy, namely, himself. When we exalt ourselves, we lure people away from the one thing that can satisfy their souls—the infinite beauty of God. When God exalts himself, he manifests the one thing that can satisfy our souls, namely, God.
What stood out was this sentence: “When we exalt ourselves, we lure people away from the one thing that can satisfy their souls—the infinite beauty of God.” What a convicting thought in our idol-making, idol-aspiring age: to draw people to ourselves is to steal their joy and lead them to a fallen image, namely ourselves, instead of the true Image of God, Jesus Christ. Too often our hearts long to make much of ourselves, too often we see Christian leaders promoting themselves in ways that draw followers after themselves; yet this kind of idol-making steals glory from God and joy! I was convicted by this brief article today and am thankful for its Godwardness.
May we search our hearts for idol-aspiring tendencies and cry out with John the Baptist (and Piper), “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Sola Deo Gloria, dss