This is a Wordle image of one of my favorite blog post of all time: "My Happy Confession of no Merit" by John Piper.
“Beware of assaulting incarnation and inspiration. To scorn the hard mental work of reading and thinking about what we read is an assault on God's methods of incarnation and inspiration. We believe that God humbled himself. Not only in the incarnation of the Son, but also in the inspiration of Scripture. The manger and the cross were not sensational. Neither is grammar and syntax. But that is how God has chosen to reveal himself. A poor Jewish peasant and a prepositional phrase have this in common, they both are human, and both are ordinary. That the poor peasant was God and the prepositional phrase is the Word of God does not change this fact. Therefore, if God humbled himself to take on human flesh and to speak human language, woe to us if we arrogantly presume to ignore the humanity of Christ and the grammar of Scripture.” -- -- The Pleasures of God, John Piper, 293.
Do not forget the culture of the inner man— I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his saber clean and sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God’s sword, His instrument—I trust, a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfection of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.
-- Robert Murray M’Cheyne
When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.
— Abraham Kuyper
from Justin Taylor by Jared Wilson.
"And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:9-10)
The first step to real gospel joy is real gospel brokenness. We cannot get to real happiness in God until we get to real despair of our sin. “Til sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet,” Thomas Watson tells us.
But once we have despaired of all sin and the gods at their genesis, we are free. Really, truly free. To eat fat juicy steaks and drink rich red wine.
In fact, we cannot really enjoy the good gifts God gives us until he as their Giver is our greatest joy. Until he as their Giver is our greatest joy, we will left trying to enjoy his gifts for things they are not, rather than the things they are.
In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis credited a close friend with cultivating in him “a determination to rub one’s nose in the very quiddity of each thing, to rejoice in its being so magnificently what it was.” John Piper echoes this enjoyment of quiddity, commenting on this kind of awareness: “To wake up in the morning and be aware of the firmness of the mattress, the warmth of the sun’s rays, the sound of the clock ticking, the sheer being of things… “ This is in Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life.
If I don’t believe the gospel, I will miss out on the joy of the it-ness of things. I will be looking to these things as drugs, as appetite-fillers, as fulfillers, as powers, as gods, as worshipers of the god of myself.
If coffee or chocolate or anything else other than God is the highlight of my day or the ultimate joy of my heart, my joy is temporary, hollow, thin.
But if I believe in the gospel, I can finally enjoy the chocolate-ness of chocolate and the coffee-ness of coffee. Only the gospel frees me to enjoy things as they truly are and as they someday will be.
This is a collection of quotations and thoughts that I have appreciated.