Weakness and the pursuit of pleasure in the glory of God (not in the removal of pain)

Is it good blogging or lazy blogging to pass on someone else’s thoughts?  Sometimes lazy is good.  

Anytime I discover a more well respected and articulate and gifted and passionate and interesting and older and biblical and bold and authentic person speaking on the same matter that consumes my heart – I owe it to myself to pass it on.  Check out what Mr. passion himself wrote about weakness and the gospel.  In his recent book, God is the Gospel, John Piper speaks of how our pursuit of the glory of God (which is the highest pleasure because God’s own glory is his own pleasure and in the gospel we join him in that pleasure through Christ and his benefits) fits with our experiences of weakness and suffering in this life.  In the quote that follows, he speaks about how the apostle Paul could say that he would boast gladly of his weaknesses…  How?  Because he was not pursuing the removal of weakness so much as pleasure in the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  And because his weakness made him look all the more continually and dependently upon the perfect glory of Christ – it was for his benefit and joy to be weak!  Go figure. 

My friends, I blog you Piper:

What was Christ’s purpose in Paul’s suffering? “My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Now this is unintelligible to those who define love as helping us get out of pain quickly.  It is also unintelligible to those who say that Christ cannot be loving if he is letting Paul suffer to magnify his own glory.  But that is exactly what he is doing.  This is why the love of God in the gospel looks so foolish to people.  How can this be love?

Paul evidently thinks it is, because his response is utterly contrary to ordinary thinking.  He says, “Therefore” – that is, because Christ is magnified in my weakness – “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  ALL THE MORE GLADLY?  This is a strange man.  No.  Rather we should say, the gospel is strange.   Its goal is not my immediate ease.  Its goal is my being so in love with Christ and so passionate about his glory that when my suffering [weakness] can highlight his worth I will bear it gladly… The goal of the gospel is not our ease or wealth or safety in this age, but our dependence on Christ [revealed through our weakness] and our delight in his glory.”

So, living the gospel in weakness is about pursuing with utter pleasure total dependence on Christ’s mercy and righteousness to the point that we are no longer interested in pursuing relief from weakness, but whatever will most magnify Christ in us and through us.  Even if it is the weakness itself.  

To use Piper’s words: that IS “utterly contrary to ordinary thinking.”  No wonder it is so exhilirating!


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