Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why Knowing God is Practical

I have been doing a lot of evaluation recently. I think it has mainly been stimulated by the series I am preaching right now on the parables of the Kingdom from Matthew 13. As I have used the lenses of these parables to examine my heart and the status of my life, I have been driven back to simple (not simplistic) things.

I've never had a truly original thought. I just try to do the best I can with the great thoughts of others. Here's a recent quote that has captured my imagination. Dr. Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis and one of my living heroes, in a message at the Evangelical Theological Society said the following.
"The greatest thing that we can do for the world is to know Jesus Christ better than everything and anyone and to love him more than anyone and anything."
See what I mean? Simple. Not simplistic, but simple. It has the simple ring of truth. It is a statement that burns away all the dross that collects around an all too frequently unexamined life. It echoes what I have been saying to each of my children since God gave my wife and I our first one some 22 years ago.

"The best thing I am ever going to do for you (kids) is I am never going to stop loving your mother."

Followed often by,

"And I am never going to love your mother more than Jesus so that I can love your mother the way God wants me to love her."

How can I love my wife and parent my children and pastor Christ's flock, and preach God's word, and counsel the hurting, "admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone" (1 Thess. 5:14); how can I lead the vision of New Song, lead movements of reconciliation, teach and lead our church into new avenues of both social justice and gospel boldness and mission?

Answer: Know God better than anything else. Value God more than anyone and anything else.

Pray with me that I would give myself to the practical work of knowing God. And give yourself to the same thing. Knowing God better and valuing Him more deeply is the center of everything that we need for every problem we face.

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