On Being A Child of God

teddy bears

I had been gone for a particularly long and exhausting day. When I walked in the door all four of my children and my wife were occupied.

My oldest child was reading a book. One of them was playing on an iPod and another with a toy while my wife was making dinner. All good things.

My youngest daughter, who is only 18 months old, was the only one who acknowledged that I had come in and she did so in a thrilling way.

She squealed. Then she dropped her toy and ran towards me. She wrapped her tiny arms around my legs and refused to let go.

I’ll be honest, I felt like a million bucks.

In that split second I heard in my head, “that is how Jesus wants you to see and enjoy Him.”

 

Jesus said, “…unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭3‬ MEV)

Teenagers and adult children often dislike the company of their parents and willfully avoid them. Little children are thrilled to see their parents.

“become like little children”

Teenagers and adult children will argue with their parents and challenge their beliefs and assertions. Little children believe everything their parents say.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children often want special events or occasions to spend time with their parents. Little children just want to be next to their parents all the time, or on their lap.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children tend to do their own thing, often without regard for their parents wishes. Little children will often do whatever they’re asked to do. All they want is to please their parents.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children want to do things on their own and try to figure out their way to accomplish goals and meet needs. Little children just grab their parents hand and hold on.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children worry and stress over needs, responsibilities and the future. Little children don’t worry about anything. They completely trust their parents to provide everything they need.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children only request reasonable things that wouldn’t seem an imposition of their parents. Little children believe their parents are able to make their wildest dreams come true. As a result, they ask for anything and everything, believing their parents will supply.

“become like little children.”

Teenagers and adult children develop personality traits that make it difficult to get along with family members and causes disagreements from time to time. Little children often love everybody and offer a smile to anyone who looks their way.

“become like little children.”

What would our world look like?

What would the church look like?

What would your family look like?

What would your heart look like?

What if we were to trust Him thoroughly, obey Him completely, worship Him singularly and love Him wholeheartedly.

What if we all were to “become like little children” and look at God as the good Father that He is.

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Respecting The Paint

yellow stripes roadAccording to the United States Department of Transportation there are almost 247 million registered motor vehicles navigating over 5 million miles of roadway in America. That’s an average of 50 cars per mile.

I willfully try not to think about these numbers, nor the caliber or condition of individuals operating these motor vehicles, while I am on the road. The next time you take a trip across town try not to think about the hundreds of careless, teenaged, distracted, medicated and inebriated drivers piloting tons of high speeding steel all around you and in oncoming lanes!

Considering all this most American drivers wouldn’t dare venture into this potential tumult of vehicular chaos. Amazingly however, we do, every day, and with great confidence.

We’ve come to know, through experience, that driving a car is not as dangerous as it sounds or potentially could be.

The U.S. Department of Transportation confirms that finding by reporting a mere 1.75 million vehicle collisions each year. Though the number itself is large it amounts to less than 1% of all vehicles on the road and fails to fulfill the previously discussed potential for mayhem.

The truly amazing thing, is that all this is made possible by paint. On very few roads in America and on most highways there are little to no barriers preventing vehicles from colliding into each other much less keeping them from erratic and reckless behavior. The only thing maintaining order and preventing chaos on the interstates, highways and Main Streets of The United States are six inch stripes of yellow and white paint.

The rules of the road are among the few remaining absolutes western civilization still respects. We’ve been taught from the beginning of our driving careers to respect the rules of the road and, if all drivers would do so, it will guarantee safety as we travel. Previously cited Department of Transportation statistics demonstrate that the majority of American drivers respect the paint.

Recently the state highway passing through our town was repaved with expected government speed and efficiency. There were a few days, as they were completing the project, when there were no stripes on the fresh asphalt. Yet there were no accidents or collisions during those few days. It wasn’t that the road was less driven or easier to navigate. It was actually more difficult to drive that highway because it was reduced to one lane in many places. In the absence of stripes however, drivers knew where the lines should be and piloted their vehicles accordingly.

There was a time in western thought that the lines and stripes of God’s law and order were the prevalent worldview. Even in their absence we could act accordingly. No longer is this true. We’ve lost the ability to navigate life with even a remembrance of where the lines were and what they meant. We no longer respect God or His order as worthy of our consideration.

We’re expected to take for granted that reason and logic have stepped into the discussion and proven God to be an unreliable theory. The prevailing notion today is that science has laid to rest the naive simplicity of faith in God.
As a result of our cultures rejection of God we’ve become thoroughly secular. We allow no room for the sacred in our culture or families and we reject moral absolutes choosing rather to embrace moral relativism. The only time we allow for moral absolutes is when we perceive an injustice against ourselves and only then will we claim there to be anything morally definite.

We accept the notion that there is no objective moral standard nor a moral lawgiver that any man is required to live by until an athlete or an actor violates his contract, uses narcotics or is caught in a lie and then we are incredulous! There is no such thing as a moral compass until a state governor commits adultery, misappropriates funds, or lies under oath and then we find ourselves asserting once again that there indeed is a moral order to life that we must follow.

We have lived as if there were no stripes on the road and then, when chaos follows, we scratch our heads and wonder aloud, “what’s wrong with the world?”. We are paying a high price for rejecting God.

I believe the analogy of a striped road is a good example of the inequity that exists in popular thought towards God. Our practice betrays our logic.

Why do we obey the rules of the road? Because a book told us we should? What does that book know about where I’m going and how I’m going to get there? It was written by men who are nothing like me and printed years ago by people that don’t understand how I drive and where I need to go.

Times have changed! We have GPS now, backup cameras and parking assist controls. We don’t need to be burdened with our grandfathers’ outdated ideas of how to pilot a vehicle. That may have been what they needed to safely drive their old Studebakers and trucks but we don’t live in that world anymore.

Furthermore, how do I know I can trust the men who striped the roads themselves? Are they not men, capable of mistakes and failures? I don’t think I want to submit myself to some random officials anachronistic idea of how and where I should drive. I’ll drive where ever and how ever I want to drive.

While any clear thinking individual would find these lines of thinking laughable, not to mention reckless, we employ the same faulty logic and vacant objections towards faith in God.

When a drunk driver speeds all over town, running red lights and stop signs and eventually slams into a school bus killing several children we are shocked and horrified. Yet when we ignore the principles God has established to maintain blessing and health in our life we see no connection between our behavior and its result.

Marriage is not held sacred, life is treated cheaply, we abuse our bodies with drugs and alcohol, we maintain carnal and selfish lifestyles, subsidize poverty, avoiding God, His Word and His order and then shake our fist at God when things go wrong and blame Him for all the evil in the world. We’ve ignored the stripes He painted and then claim the disaster that’s come from our reckless behavior proves God can’t be real, good or both.

In short, we’ve asked God to let us do whatever we want and then we blame Him for the consequences or worse, claim the results prove His vacancy. We deny the viability of faith in God based, not upon experience or reason but rather, upon the choices and actions of men.

Those who have faith in God and in His Word have been plagued for centuries by questions meant to erode their faith through reason and logic. Some call themselves atheists, some agnostic others simply adopt the benign term “skeptic”.

Whatever they may be called, their questions have been around as long as faith has been professed. A faith in God and the Holy Bible as His Word does not allow room for indifference or neutrality. The demands and claims of the Bible concerning God and His laws require action and response. It is my belief that most people who deny God do so, not because of some logical or rational exercise, but rather because they are simply not willing not respond to the call of scripture.

Reason does not stand in the way of faith. In fact, now more than ever before, philosophy and the sciences point with increasing uniformity to a world that is complex, orderly and bears the fingerprint of a designer. From the anthropic principle to the fine tuning of the cosmological constants such as gravity, our world resonates with the echoes of a designer. It’s as if every blade of grass and drop of water is preaching, “There is a God!”

It was the Apostle Paul who said, “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). He went on to say that once they knew God yet did not honor Him their hearts were darkened and “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

Our society mocks faith in Christ and the Holy Bible as God’s divinely inspired Word as illegitimate and unfounded while at the same time expressing blind faith in the world that surrounds us every day.

I learned many interesting things in the two and a half years I worked as a pharmacy technician. One of the most commercially successful pain relievers on the market is acetaminophen, often branded as Tylenol. It was approved for use in 1951 but remarkably, after over 60 years of use the “mechanism of action remains unknown”. We know that acetaminophen works, we simply do not know how. Yet our ignorance of exactly how this drug works has not hindered us from taking it or giving it to our children. We’ve found it works when we use it so we trust our experience more than the argument.

We trust a chemical into our bodies that the people who produce it and regulate it admit they do not know exactly how it works. Yet when asked to trust centuries of experience and reliability in the laws of God we become incredulous.

Our logic is failing and we know it. We have reasoned our way out of God’s order and consequently the benefits it brings.

I believe we have reached a time in history when this is becoming increasingly clear. The way we’ve been living isn’t working. We’re ready for a change. The question is, do we have good reason to believe?

Why is it okay to engage in every imaginable alternative lifestyle and count all belief systems and ideologies valid and acceptable except Christianity? Why is Christianity singled out as the only insufferable faith?

If pain is such a problem in human existence how is there so much goodness in the world? How can we even understand evil without the existence of God?

Why do so many people have a problem with Christianity in specific? How does the atheist account for Christianity’s survival through the centuries?

What about the believer’s personal testimony? Are all people of faith guilty of perjury by default or is there any merit to their testimony? Have we reached a point, intellectually and spiritually, where we must rethink everything we know?

We’ve driven on unstriped roads for too long. I believe these questions, among others, are worthy of our consideration. I believe if we ask enough questions we will eventually find that we do indeed have reason to believe.

Neglecting The Familar

emptychair I won. I’ve finally won something on e-bay!

I won a cd for $1.49.

The cd was released in 1991. It was around the time that cd players became more affordable and more artists released their music on cd’s. I was 10 and remember getting our first CD player. It was the size of a small coffee table but it was magic.

Digital audio was still a relatively new technology and so production companies often printed instructions for how to care for the cd on the cd case insert.

I was amazed at the instructions that were given.

Always hold the cd by the edges.

When not in the cd payer always return the cd to its case.

If a fingerprint should get on the underside of the disc only wipe it off with a soft, dust/lint free cloth and always wipe in a straight line away from the center of the disc.

The instructions for care were followed by the promise, “If you care for your compact disc in this manner it should provide you with a lifetime of listening pleasure.”

As I read those instructions I mentally balanced them with the way an average person actually handles a cd.

I’ve got about three just laying loose in the floor of my minivan at this moment!

When we are not using them as a coaster for our drink we throw them around, pile them on top of each other (not in their cases), and wipe the pizza sauce off the underside with the back of our shirt (well, at least I do).

As our familiarity grows our care lessens.

This seems to be true of most things.

Consider the first year of marriage versus the 10th. If she gets a cold in the 1st year you’re rushing to the emergency room. If she gets a cold in the 10th year you’re buying a box of Kleenex so she doesn’t get anything in the casserole.

When I bought my first new car I babied it. No fast food. Wipe your feet. Routine maintenance, wash and wax. No driving fast or hitting bumps. Park at the back of the parking lot so some junker won’t scratch the paint.

After about 3 months that all starts to fade.

Before 1 year is up there’s fries under the floormats, pop stains in the cup holder and cd’s lodged in the seats.

When I first got my laptop I kept a lint free cloth between the keyboard and screen whenever I closed it. I always set it on a laptop fan base to keep the internal hardware cool and prevent damage.

Not anymore.

As our familiarity grows our care and attention lessens.

We become so familiar with things that we cease to genuinely care for them and appreciate their value. We take them for granted and neglect the care they properly deserve.

I sure hope this hasn’t also become true of my walk with God.

We must pray that, as we learn more about Him and walk daily with Him, that we don’t begin to neglect the simple disciplines that led us to Him in the beginning. Prayer, fasting, the reading of Scripture, corporate worship and giving. Simple disciplines that not only create but maintain an appropriate reverence and appreciation for who He is and all He is worthy to receive of us.

What an ironic tragedy it would be for God to be so near to us for so long that He would become familiar and we neglect His presence.

Balance or Yes & No

wooden fenceIt’s not that we don’t know right from wrong. We do. We simply all too often make either emotional or reckless decisions in a moment of weakness, hunger or fatigue.

We know right from wrong, we just don’t know how to prioritize right from wrong.

Most of our selfish and reckless decisions are sourced from the fact that our priorities are fluid. We haven’t decided, before we are presented with a decision, what our values and priorities dictate. Your greatest weapon in achieving your goals is deciding before hand what you say yes to and what you say no to and then being intentional about sticking with those principles.

Even if, however, you are able to do that, there is then the difficulty of choosing between good things and better things. As Jim Collins so aptly presented to us, The enemy of great is good enough.

It is those reasons that make balance one of the most important things necessary for a healthy life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. We are only one person, and our mind and spirit and intellect must do everything they will do in the only physical body we will ever have. An imbalance in any of those areas will affect who you are as a person.

The state of your body affects your mind and the state of your spirit affects your body. There’s only one way to disconnect your mind, body and spirit from each other. It’s called death.

So as long as you are alive, and as long as you intend to pursue physical, spiritual and emotional health, you’re going to have to learn to find balance. That will require you learning when to say, “Yes” and when to say, “No”.

As much as we would like to convince ourselves otherwise, there is no neutrality in life. We make choices every day. Not making a choice is a choice in itself. Everything you say “yes” to also means a thousand other options you said “no” to. Everywhere you are is a myriad of places you aren’t. Everything you receive defines the things you reject and vice versa.

Learning the power of saying “Yes” and “No” to the right things is key to achieving balance.

The great power of Christianity is that, for most of us, If we get God in His rightful place everything else effortlessly lines up. The truth is, it’s not so much us putting God in His rightful place ( He’s already there) as it is us placing ourselves in our proper place under Him. When we realign our will with His will we find ourselves in the peace that is promised in His Spirit.

Sometimes we’re afraid to say no to some people and things because it often feels harsh and severe. We would like to be seen as nice people, as being kind. But sometimes saying no is the kindest, most important thing you can do for yourself, your family or another person.

Often, we can be very cruel in our intents to be kind. It’s not kindness to continue to enable individuals to self destruct. It’s not kindness to fatigue your own mind and body to such a degree that you rob yourself of rest and your family of your complete presence. Often the kindest thing we could do is learn to say, “No”.

Sadly, it is often the little things that end up being our real problems. It turns out, you really should sweat the small stuff because often the big stuff is simply an aggregate of the small stuff that we didn’t properly sweat. Our priorities were fluid, our values unsettled, and, because of that, we didn’t know when to say yes or when to say no. The little stuff aggregates and then we have a big problem.

John Piper says in his book, A Hunger For God,

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20).

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

Airplanes need two wings, and both are necessary to stay in the air. People have two legs, one to remain planted while the other one moves, enabling us to walk forward or backward. Roads have two sets of lanes, each going in opposite directions. The truth is, you need Yes and No to achieve balance in life.

Yes to God. Yes to good things. Yes to rest. Yes to faith.

No to the tyranny of the urgent. No to good things that rob from better things. No to exhaustion.

Learning how to use Yes and No is one of the greatest skills you will refine in your pursuit of balance.

When You Give

leaning treeTwo of a mans most precious commodities are his time and his money. For the average man both are difficult to come by and even harder to keep. For that reason we tend to be very particular about what we do with both and who we allow to impose upon our supply.

The American Revolution was sourced out of the Colonists resistance to taxation without representation. It’s safe to say that their jealousy for their time and treasure is what fueled the Revolution. They refused to allow King George to take their money and waste their time while offering nothing in return.

It’s a fundamentally American trait. We don’t want anyone to make demands on our time or our money without adequate reason or our consent. So it’s no surprise that most American Christians are resistant to their Pastors and Bible Teachers encouraging them to give of their finances to their local church.

Jesus addresses our habits of giving and gives us instruction in The Sermon on The Mount when He says,

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4 ESV)

Jesus tries to change our point of view when it comes to giving. He wants us to take our eyes off of the temporary and instead focus on the eternal. Giving helps us fight the lure of the immediate in favor of the promise of the eternal.

When we give of our finances to the Kingdom of God our eyes are not on the Earth but on Heaven. We use our finances as a tool to help us realign our hearts with the things that really matter. Jesus explains further in the sixth chapter of Matthew,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

There are two truths here. First, what you give to God is never lost! The treasure that you commit to His trust cannot be taken from you. Investments in this life can be broken, be lost, be undervalued, devalued and stolen. However, whatever you invest in the Kingdom of God is secure “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal”.

The second truth is that giving is an indicator of the inclination of your heart and the inclination of your heart matters. If a tree is going to fall, it’s going to fall the direction it leans. Jesus wants us to lean towards Heaven and our habits of giving is an indicator of that inclination, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. That’s why 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “God loves a cheerful giver”. He wants giving to change the inclinations of our heart and replace duty with joy!

We were created for Gods glory. Furthermore, everything I do for Gods glory will also serve my joy. That’s the way God designed us to be most fulfilled and most at peace. That’s one of the reasons that Jesus prayed that our joy may be full (John 16:24). Because our joy is an indicator that we’re living our life for Gods glory.

Giving is for joy!

So, WHEN YOU GIVE:

Jesus said, “WHEN you give”, not “if”. The implication is that His disciples will be giving people. Giving is evidence of faith. It takes faith to give God a portion of your finances. Faith that the remainder will be enough to meet your needs and faith that God can do more with less! Knowing how important and necessary money is to every person it is no wonder that Jesus calls giving “the practice of righteousness” (Matt.6:1,ESV).

Jesus goes on to say, when you give, don’t give to be seen of men. The aim of someone who gives ostentatiously and explicitly is to be seen of men is to look pious and religious, to procure a reputation among their peers and community of being a righteous person because, again, giving is what Jesus called “the practice of righteousness”. Jesus calls that hypocrisy.

Our giving should be sourced out of our love for God and our love for our neighbor. Giving itself is not the goal but rather giving that is sourced from genuine heart change.

John the Baptist gives instruction regarding repentance in Luke 3. He gives his listeners three ways to show the “fruits of repentance”.

1) Share food & clothes with the poor (vs.11).
2) Tax collectors shouldn’t take more than they’re allowed (vs. 13).
3) Soldiers should be content with their wages & not extort money (vs.14).

Notice, they’re all related to how they handled money and possessions!

So now we have been presented with giving as the “fruit of repentance” and “the practice of righteousness”. Giving is important to the spiritual health of every believer!

The point of giving is genuine heart change, evidenced by a persons giving of their finances. We see this illustrated in a great way in Luke 19 in the life of Zacchaeus. After talking with Jesus, Zacchaeus the tax collector decided his life needed to change.

“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I [will] restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:8-9, ESV)

Zacchaeus had not repented yet. He had not yet been baptized. But Jesus viewed his commitment to generosity as evidence that there had been genuine heart change in Zacchaeus. When his heart towards giving changed Jesus said it was evidence that salvation had come to his house. Giving is about heart change.

Finally, Jesus goes on to teach His disciples to give as privately as possible. Privately to such a degree, that if you can prevent your left hand from knowing what your right hand is doing, do so when you give!

Jesus knew that the temptation is there to make a spectacle of the poor or the needy in the self interest of the givers reputation. In order to be seen as “practicing righteousness”, and gain a reputation as a generous person, some people would be inclined to make a public show of the poor and the less fortunate. It shows we are unconcerned for the dignity of the poor, we disrespect their personhood, when we make a spectacle of giving to them.

“Look at how poor they are, and how righteous we are, to be giving them these simple things they cannot even provide for themselves!” Jesus taught that is not the right spirit of giving.

He said to give privately. Avoid the show and the spectacle of generosity. That definitely means we shouldn’t post our generosity and giving on Facebook! He said give privately and our Father in Heaven will reward us openly. God rewards those who are givers, give cheerfully and give out of pure motives.

Randy Alcorn, in his bestselling book, The Treasure Principle, leaves us with six scriptural principles concerning giving.

  1. God Owns Everything and I Am His Money Manager
  2. My Heart Always Goes Where I Put God’s Money
  3. Heaven, Not Earth, Is My Home
  4. I Should Not Live Merely for the Moment but for Eternity
  5. Giving is the Only Antidote to Materialism
  6. God Prospers Me Not to Raise My Standard of Living, but to Raise My Standard of Giving

I don’t believe giving should be a chore. It should not be a duty. Giving should be a delight. Everything I do for God’s glory will also work for my joy and giving is one of those things. Giving is for joy.

One of the greatest steps of faith you can take is to trust God with your finances. If you do, be sure of this, He will bless those who bless His kingdom.

Mothers

daisy ladybug fieldMen and women are different. Very different. Men and women are different in their nature, their strengths and their design.

Yet the message young women get from western culture is one that does not vary all that much from what it tells young men. Go to college, get a job, commit to a career and if you have time, and if it fits your lifestyle, get married and have children.

However, The Bible has something completely different to say. The message scripture sends to young women, older women and mothers is one of honor and value. That working in the home, caring for a husband and children is to be valued and honored.

What you do is important. What you do is a blessing. What you do in the home, in caring for children and your husband, should be taught to others and passed down to the generations that follow you (Titus 2:1-5).

Women and mothers are to be honored, protected and valued (Matthew 19:19).

Children come from the Lord and they are not an inconvenience but a blessing (Psalm 127:3).

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged (Proverbs 17:6).

In the ten commandments, right in between statements like, thou shalt have no other Gods before me and thou shalt not murder, is the fifth commandment. Honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

Jesus used the last few moments before his death to care for his mother (John 19:26).

All throughout scripture we see, contrary to the Bible’s critics, the Word of God calling men to honor, protect and provide for women and children. The Bible exalts and blesses the role that women are called to play in society and in the home.

Men, through your actions, your lifestyle and your words you should and can affirm and fortify the Biblical role of your wife and mother.

Here’s a few practical ways you can affirm the role of your wife and mother.

Go to work and provide for her and your children.

Keep your mind clean and your eyes, as well as your hands, off other women.

Read your Bible and pray every day. Preferably with them.

Tell the truth.

Clean up after yourself. She may be a mother but she’s not your mother.

If any woman in your life is going to be offended in your behavior make sure it’s not your wife. If that means you have to be rude to co-workers or clients so be it. Your wife comes first.

Don’t laugh at or tell jokes that demean, demoralize or sexually objectify women.

Take her, and any children you may have, to church.

Spend more time with them than you do your buddies.

Hold doors, chairs and coats like a gentleman.

Treat people, even people you don’t like, with respect.

Keep the weekends for your family.

Tell her that you value her and what she means to your family.

Buy her things. Nice things.

Set a weekly date night.

Give her time alone and time with her friends.

Send her flowers for no reason at all.

These are just a few suggestions. Have you got any to add? Leave a comment below.

The Enemy of Hunger

hunger“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.”

John Piper in A Hunger for God