Delight Yourself in the Lord

John Piper made Christian Hedonism popular, the notion that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. The essential teaching is that we are to delight in God.

This is a fine notion, but who knows how people hear this phrase. What does it mean to delight in the Lord?

Is it to ignore reality to be happy in Jesus? How does one ignore reality when reality may keep breaking in with more disaster? How can you delight in someone you can’t see or hear?

Delighting in the Lord is not a Piper invention, it has been around for some time. Isaiah talks about delighting in the Lord and gives us a key beginning to what delighting in God means:

“not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD.”

Delighting in the Lord can only happen when we cease delighting in ourselves! Once we give up on our ideas, thoughts and words and instead come after God’s ideas, thoughts and words, we will delight in God.

Selfish, ego-centric, pride is our biggest hindrance to knowing God. We’re so consumed with knowing ourselves and finding ourselves that we never get around to diligently seeking God, thus we find no lasting reward.

To delight in God means to let God consume all, to remove you, to die to self, to rise up to newness of life, to be hid in Christ, to no longer live but let Christ live in you.

I could go on with many more references seeing as how this is central Bible doctrine. Stop being you. You aint that great.

Difference Between Jesus and Me: Jesus Always Does God’s Will

Jesus is God in the flesh. He made quite an impression on earth. People couldn’t figure out what made Him tick. Why was He so different?

The difference lay in the fact that, unlike every other person who ever lived, Jesus always did the will of His Father. Doing His Father’s will is the main reason why He came.

“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

Many of the things that Jesus did were written down, all He had to do was look up Scripture to find out what to do next (probably wasn’t necessary but you get my point).

My life is not written out for me. I have verses that help me determine what to do in situations in life, yet there are often verses proposing both sides of an act and I don’t know which is right.

I’m sure I often pick the wrong verse! I stand when I should run, fight when I should turn the other cheek, etc.

The alternative to doing God’s will is to do sin, which deserves death. God has provided sacrifices ultimately pointing to the One Sacrifice. But God has no pleasure in sacrifice, but rather in doing His will.

I am grateful that God’s will for His Son is that His Son would take the wrath I deserve. But I am also grateful He has freed me from the flesh so I can now do the will of God.

Only those who do God’s will abide forever and you can’t do His will unless you know His will, and you can’t know His will unless the Spirit teaches you His will and you are abiding in it.

Doing God’s will is only possible through regeneration, being born again, indwelt with the Spirit of God, given by the Son, who fully does the will of His Father.

Adam, Dominion and the Sovereignty of God

Job got picked on by Satan, but only to the degree that God let Satan pick on Him. God gave Satan the right to pick on Job but not to take his life.

One might call this freedom with limits. Perhaps this is similar to the freedom God has given man.

It is my contention that we have freedom and that this freedom does not always include doing God’s will. The Lord’s Prayer says we are to ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, which implies that God’s will isn’t done on earth.

This flips some people out but shouldn’t. God is in control but has also granted freedom within limits.

When God created man he was given dominion over created things. He was given the power to rule over creation. Man soon showed his incompetence by sinning, which was not a proper exercise of dominion, but rather led to the demise of creation.

Does God have all power? Didn’t God grant Adam power over creation? Does Adam have more power than God? Was Adam’s sin outside of God’s will?

These are questions people fight over. I have no interest in the fight, just an interest in getting some thinking on the issue based on Scripture rather than hot-button rhetoric.

Kids Rebel, Even God’s

Rebellion is part of growing up. Each kid makes their stand and some make it more destructively than others, but it’s all part of figuring out life. The most loyal kid has rebellion somewhere.

Parents who parent to eliminate rebellion, who desire to have their kids be their BFF rather than an authority figure, or who eliminate all chance of rebellion thru over-protection, are fighting the inevitable.

I do not want my kids to go off the deep-end, however, I know that many people need a deep-end to go off in order to get real with God. How do I know that my kids might need to be an alcoholic in order to be saved?

I know, horrible thought for a parent to think, but honestly, what do I know?

Kids rebel. Faith can carry a parent through this. There are many who say they want to grow into the perfect man Christ Jesus. They want to know God. Guess what happened to God?

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”

Well, I want to be like Jesus in all the good ways, I meant.

Do you want to know Him, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings and be conformed to His death? It’ll hurt.

Your kids might hurt you. Do you trust God?

Pressuring Parents to Get Their Kids Saved

We’re told that anywhere from 65-90% of all believers were saved by the time they were 18. After 21 hardly anyone gets saved, so get them kids saved right quick.

This puts unbelievable pressure on parents to “get their kids saved.” Parents, as soon as they possibly can, get their kids to say the prayer. Shwew, now we’re done.

Hitting a softball is an easy thing to do, until there’s pressure, until you start thinking about how to hit while hitting, then you hit pop ups to second. Putting pressure on people makes them unnatural, impatient and weird.

Kids are experts at picking up on weirdness and impatience. Many of these 90% who receive Christ as kids end up walking away from the church, perhaps because their parents were so overbearing on “getting them saved.”

Pressure makes you unnatural, being unnatural is hard to differentiate from Pharisaism and hypocrisy. Kids are fleeing like crazy from this.

Yet we keep telling parents, especially fathers, that it’s their job to get their kids saved. Several problems with this, besides the undo pressure thing:

1) Show me a verse that says parents can save their kids
2) Show me a verse that says parents should try to save their kids
3) Do we need the Holy Spirit or just parents?
4) Many godly men in Scripture had messed up kids
5) Many godly men in Scripture had messed up parents
6) Many godly men were saved not as kids

Parents are to teach, admonish and instruct their kids. They are not only to teach with words but by example. Every soul must deal with their salvation between them and God. Parents are not the one mediator between God and men.

There is a cult of parenting in our day that is flat-out dangerous. At no point do I ever see Luke 14:26 factor into anyone’s teaching to parents about getting kids saved. Yet the Bible says it and we go on ignoring it and pressuring the exact opposite point.

Gettin Kids Saved!

For years we were told that 90% of Christians “got saved” before they were 18. Barna now says the number is closer to 65%. But there is still much ado about getting people saved as kids “before it’s too late.”

This has bothered me for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that kids are more gullible, so when we pressure our churches to get kids saved we do all manner of goofy things to try to facilitate the Spirit’s work.

It also bothers me because while we are told that the majority of Christians are saved by the time they are 18, we are now being told that 90% of church kids leave the faith by the time they are in college. So, line that up:

80% of believers were saved before age 18
90% of church kids leave the faith by age 21

Anyone see anything odd? I do. If these numbers are true, and when have statistics ever been wrong, we must consider some options:

1) We must begin to faithfully teach that people lose their salvation, or

2) We must teach a Gospel that has no attachment to sanctification, or

3) We must admit our Gospel we’ve been teaching is wrong.

I’d go for number 3. Number 2 has been the default. We know how much work we put into children’s ministry, we know how many kids we prayed the prayer for and had them nod their head afterwards, we know we got em saved, therefore we must conclude, contrary to Scripture, that there is no necessary sanctification and all our precious kids who are now crack whores are still going to heaven.

That response disgusts me. It is so blatantly contrary to Scripture that the only way one could hold it is if one did not read Scripture, which incidentally is exactly what is going on.

It’s time we start teaching the Gospel and the whole council of Scripture and stop playing games with our kids.

Physical Abundance Leads to Spiritual Scarcity

The distorted and deceptive doctrines of Modern Evangelicalism have led to odd outcomes. There are two main elements of historical faith that have come under attack:

1) Do we really have to serve God and do good works?
2) What’s the point of prayer?

Both of these questions are asked by people who have bought into the lies of modern American Christianity that overemphasizes certain doctrines so far out of whack that Scripture is ignored.

However, there is nothing new under the sun. People have long had these two questions in their minds. Look at Job’s observations of people’s questions around him in Job 21:15

“What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?”

These questions come out of a wrong view of God. If you ask these questions, or even worse, if you don’t even bother to ask because you already know prayer is pointless along with good works, examine how Job describes people who ask these questions:

21:9–their houses are safe
21:9–God does not correct them
21:10–they have stuff abounding
21:11–their kids are happy in their abundance
21:12–they love music and dance
21:13–they spend their days in wealth

Sounds like American Christians to me! Again we see that abundance leads to blasphemy. Why serve God when serving me has worked out so well? Why ask God for things when I already have everything and know how to get the rest?

People who ask these questions are evil and will get judgment in the end (21:18).