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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The End of Self: John Piper

How shall this insidious motive of pleasure in being made much of be broken except through bending all my faculties to delight in the pleasure of making much of God! Christian hedonism is the final solution. It is deeper than death to self. You have to go down deeper into the grave of flesh to find the truly freeing stream of miracle water that ravishes you with the taste of God's glory. Only in that speechless, all-satisfying admiration is the end of self.
                  ~ John Piper

I was thinking this morning of this passage from Piper when in my mind I envisioned a scale and then did a little experiment, perhaps you might want to do it too. It's an interesting visual activity that helps us measure the priority God has in our lives.

Ok, here it goes...picture a scale....

You have stones of equal weight all around you.  On one side put the amount of stones that represents the time you think about yourself each day. Estimate how many thoughts you have and each thought is a stone. We all do it, we all daydream and have conversations and thoughts continually running through our heads. About our dreams, our desires, our plans for the day, what we are wearing, eating, conversations we've had, etc.

And then on the other side put the number of stones representing the number of thoughts you have about God each day. His plans for you, your praises and prayers lifted up to Him, time in His Word, reflecting on His laws and the beauty and gifts of His grace and mercy.

And then...see which way the scale tilts.

Are you more consumed with thoughts about yourself or are you consumed more with your passion and love towards God?

 Don't worry, only you and God know the answer!

I know there are times when the scale can tip either way for me. Some days I am transfixed with God, coming back to His Word again and again, lifting Him up in prayer, His peace penetrating my soul as I encounter Him in the present moment, wishing nothing more than to bring Him glory in word and deed. And then...there are those other times...the scale is dramatically tilted in the opposite direction. When I let my worries and fears, insecurities and bitterness consume me and I lose sight of God...kind of like Peter did when he walked out on the ocean's surface to meet Jesus. He looked away. And then started to sink.

When the scale is tilted in our direction that means we are sinking. Losing focus on the one thing that truly matters, the one supreme treasure that we are to hold dear above everything else ....God!

So it's important, at that point, when we realize we are sinking and losing focus, to come back. How do you come back after you've had a moment of groundlessness..when you feel you've stumbled and tripped? Do you turn to scripture first, prayer? I'd say that I turn to the psalms and then pray...and after that my heart is open enough for meditation. Whatever one's means, it's important to take the steps to get back on the pathway to God. Someone once told me, you can take a thousand steps away from God, but it only takes one step to come back to Him.

So let's take some steps today...away from ourselves and towards God.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for Your great mercy and grace which makes eternal union with You possible. We pray that You help transform our hearts so that our strongest desire would be to dwell in Your presence, finding supreme joy and peace in you, and not in ourselves. As we learn to fix our eyes on Jesus, in the process may we also learn to lose our attachments to self and world. Shatter our illusions so that we may be inundated with the pure reality of Your presence and Love. 

May we bring You all honor, glory and praise.

In Jesus' unmatched and precious name,


  1. Another great post, my friend!
    Thank you!!

  2. Makes me realize how lacking I am in many areas of my faith. Thanks for the emlightening post!!

  3. Love the analogy of stones on a scale to depict our thoughts... God on the one side... our selves on the other. And the prayer to shatter our illusions so that we may be inundated with pure reality of His presence and love hit home.

  4. I really like the way you make it sound. A practice that is between the divine and me! A true test of one's faith...

  5. You are one of the most inspirational writers that I have come across writing about Faith. I have shared your site with many others hoping that they will enjoy it as much as myself. Again, you have posted a wonderful write!

  6. I love the representations here and how it all fits together, another wonderful piece my friend oxox

  7. Were you reading my mind? God knew what I needed today :) Thank you for being His voice.