Monday, August 25, 2008

John Piper on sewing and reaping joy

Last Friday I wrote about how God both commands and gives joy.

I love the way Piper explains how command and gift fit together (maybe with 1 Corinthians 3 in mind):

We are like farmers. They plow the field and plant the seed and cut away weeds and scare away crows, but they do not make the crop grow, God does. He sends rain and sunshine and brings to maturity the hidden life of the seed. We have our part. But it is not coercive or controlling. And there will be times when the crops fail.

In obedience to God’s Word we should fight to walk in the paths where he has promised his blessings. But when and how they come is God’s to decide, not ours. If they delay, we trust the wisdom of our Father’s timing, and we wait. In this way joy remains a gift, while we wait patiently in the field of obedience and fight against the weeds and the crows and the rodents.

Here is where joy will come. Here is where Christ will reveal himself (John 14:21). But that revelation and that joy will come when and how Christ chooses. It is a gift.

I would add that not only the growth is God's gift, but also the plowing, planting, and weeding, for they are done through us by his Spirit. We work because he works in us (Phil. 2:13-14).

But how helpful to remember that, having sought God with heart, soul, mind and strength, we may have to wait for the day of joy to return. We can't expect joy in God if we don't seek it through the means he has provided: but having sought, we trust, and we wait.

Quote is from Piper When I Don't Desire God 42; image from stock.xchng.

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