Don’t Just Talk About God

Posted: October 15, 2010 in books, theology

I’m currently reading John Piper’s new book Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.  I just started, but I’ve already been encouraged and challenged.  Piper calls this book a “plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people.”  His contention is that Christians should reject “either-or thinking when it comes to head and heart, thinking and feeling, reason and faith, theology and doxology, mental labor and the ministry of love.”  This resonates deeply with me, as I have often felt, with Piper, that “the clearer the seeing, the sweeter the savoring.”

But one thing has really stood out to me and has been quite convicting.  It is actually a quote from Jonathan Edwards.  And it is incredible.

“God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart.  He that testifies his idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation (approval or praise) of it and his delight in it.” (p. 35, emphasis mine)

Simply put, God is most glorified when I testify not simply to His great worth, but to His great worth to me. Our knowledge must be paired with our affections.  And our speaking about God must testify to our affections for God, not just our knowledge of Him.

Too often, I communicate my knowledge without communicating my passionate affections.  Knowledge becomes detached from the context of deep devotion and heartfelt emotions.  But that context is absolutely essential!  If we fail to communicate our affections for God, all our talk about God will fall short.

The implications of this truth for the Christian life are far-reaching.  It will effect our evangelism, our preaching, our discipleship, our marriages, our parenting, our apologetics, our music, our art, etc.  The list could go on.

I’ll end with a quote from the Apostle Paul, an incredibly passionate proclaimer of the truth about God and what He has done for us.  Read carefully and hear his emotion swell as he writes:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:3-14

 

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