Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Precious and precarious

Consider the following quote from John Piper's book, God is the Gospel:

All the enticements to God that are not God are precious and precarious. They can lead us to God or lure us to themselves. They may be food or marriage or church or miracles. All of these blessings bring love letters from God. But unless we stress continually that God himself is the gospel, people will fall in love with the mailman—whether his name is forgiveness of sins or eternal life or heaven or ministry or miracles or family or food. (143)

To drive home what Piper is suggesting, imagine a young lady who receives a Christmas gift from her fiancee who is temporarily out of the country. It is a beautiful gift that should indicate to the young lady how much her husband-to-be loves her. But in receiving this gift, the lady becomes captivated and falls in love with the gift. The gift becomes the foremost affection in her heart; she loves this present. Instead of seeing the gift as a token of her fiancee's love, and thus having her become more enthralled with him, she allows the gift to replace him in her heart.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

But, I think Piper is right in that, at least on a small scale, we do that all the time with God. We become enamoured with the gift instead of the Gift-giver. We 'seek first' the secondary things, and relegate the Primary One to a position of secondary importance.

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