Friday, December 16, 2011
Book Review–Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
This book has taken a little longer to read because it was given to me in a PDF and therefore has been my first e-read. I have to admit I don’t know how I feel about Kindle’s or other forms of electronic books; I enjoy physically turning pages, highlighting and underlining and pulling the book back off the shelf. Anyhow, enough on that!
John Piper is first a Christian hedonist, secondarily the preaching pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in MN, a reformed church. He has written numerous books including, Desiring God and This Momentary Marriage, which are available for free download on his website: http://www.desiringgod.org/. His passion is all things of God, but especially missions and unreached people groups. The premise of this book is that according to 1 Corinthians 6:19+20, we exist to glorify God. Piper begins with a biographical sketch of his formative years at Wheaton college, during which he describes what he felt was a call to be a minister.
He recalls learning the following from Daniel Fuller: God’s passion for each one of us is, His glory AND
our good or delight, at the same time. So here are the questions he asked himself, “What was life about? What was it for? Why do I exist? Why am I here? To be happy? Or to glorify God? Unspoken for years, there was in me the feeling that these two were at odds. Either you glorify God or you pursue happiness.” And later he concluded that, “God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.” Therefore, “the wasted life is the life without a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.” P 31
So, if that is true and I believe that it is, it means that anyone who does not KNOW God will be wasting their lives. This to me is a spur under the saddle for evangelism. Do you agree?
“We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life.” P 32
Esther, Joab, Paul, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all put their lives at risk for the LORD. In fact Paul said in Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Why do we do what we ought for Christ? Because as he puts it, “it is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever.” P97
And in light of 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” how do we make decisions to spend our money or engage in certain activities. Piper recommends asking these 5 questions:
How will this help me treasure Christ more?
How will it help me show that I do treasure Christ?
How will it help me know Christ or display Christ?
How can I portray God as glorious in this action? How can I enjoy making much of him in this behavior?
He then tackles the issue of forgiveness. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are forgiven and therefore ought to freely forgive. He adds this spin, if we love being forgiven for reasons other than God himself then we will waste our lives.
One of the things that has struck my husband and I this year is intentionally adorning the Gospel, so how can we make much of God and adorn the Gospel (Titus 2:9+10)? Piper devoted a whole chapter on this subject as it pertains to Mon-Fri 8-5 work (especially secular work environments) and named six practical ways this can be accomplished.
1. Through the fellowship that we enjoy with him throughout the day in all our work.
2. By the joyful, trusting, God-exalting design of our creativity and industry.
3. When it confirms and enhances the portrait of Christ’s glory that people hear in the spoken Gospel.
4. By earning enough money to keep us from depending on others, while focusing on the helpfulness of our work rather than financial rewards.
5. By earning money with the desire to use our money to make others glad in God.
6. By treating the web of relationships it creates as a gift of God to be loved by sharing the Gospel and by practical deeds of help.
He believes that in our work, we ought to make a conscious decision to rely on God’s power, pursue excellence and deliberately work to reflect God’s glory. One of my favorite quotes from this chapter, “your work is to take what God has made and shape it and use it to make him look great.”
Overall, an incredible read (5 stars), one I will definitely revisit. The more I learned about John Piper as a person, led me to a deep respect for his passion to proclaim Christ boldly. Please check out his website for incredible FREE resources. http://www.desiringgod.org/
“Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.” John Piper