“Piper, I know you and Desiring God are all into satisfaction in God. I get that. But do you have to always stick in that word satisfaction? I mean, can’t you just say the inner essence of worship is having Christ as a greater treasure than everything in the world? Why do you need that emotionally laden word in there?”
I feel really strongly about this for two reasons. First, being satisfied with Christ is implied in saying he’s your greatest treasure. And I want to push that in your face. I want to push it through your eyeballs and into your heart — or into your eyeballs and into your brain, and then down into your heart. I would really like you to feel what I feel right now and believe what I believe: namely, that — if you say you’re a Christian — Christ is my greatest treasure.
“You’re not a Christian if you love your mother, your father, or your children more than you love Jesus.”
Jesus said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Period. You’re not a Christian if you love your mother, your father, or your children more than you love Jesus — and that’s an affectional love. That’s not a duty love. That’s not a sacrificial love. That’s an affection. How do you feel about your kids? I love my kids! Yes, you should — and Jesus 10,000 times more. And if you don’t love him more . . .
So, my first reason for using the word “satisfied” is because it forces this issue. It forces people who are willing to use the language of treasure or commitment or belief while their hearts are going after stuff. You can watch it. Watch their lives. Jesus is a weekend thing. All week long what they watch on TV, what they do, it just has nothing to do with their hearts’ delight in God — nothing.
I personally don’t want to encourage those people to think they’re Christians. My life commitment is to talk about the Bible in such a way that fake Christians feel fake — so that they can be saved. So many churches are just coddling them, just constantly coddling them. “It’s going to be okay. He’s a God of love.”
They’re not Christians. Their hearts are not made new. They love other things more than they love Christ. They think if they walked that aisle, or signed that card, or did some rote thing, they’re in. I’ve just talked to so many of these people. It really is implied in the language of faith or the language of treasure that you are satisfied in Jesus more than everything else.
Here’s my second reason: Do you remember the one-verse parable? “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). Now, you might think it would be very paradoxical or odd if a person sold everything he had to have the kingdom, but he didn’t do it with joy. That happens folks. That happens.
“Okay, tell me what I need to do.”
“You sell some stuff.”
“Got it. How much should I sell?”
“Well, rich young ruler, all of it.”
“Okay, got that.”
That’s not what Jesus says. When the kingdom of heaven takes hold of you, and the King is revealed in the rule of the kingdom as the treasure hidden in the field, you don’t just sell your stuff. You are happy to sell your stocks. That’s what it says. I can’t tell you how long, maybe 22 years, I read that verse and skipped right over the fact that it is from his joy that he sold everything he had. If you sell your stuff for Jesus without joy, it doesn’t mean anything. Plenty of ascetics in the world are going to go to hell. They may have left everything they had, but that’s not the point of what Jesus says.
“If you sell your stuff for Jesus without joy, it doesn’t mean anything.”
So, I use the word satisfy to make that reality unescapable. I’m slamming the door, every chance I get, on your escape from that. I want to slam the door on anybody saying, “Well, you don’t really need to feel satisfied in God as long as he’s your treasure.” That’s nonsense. God knows it. You know it. “Treasure” doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a word without your heart. “I love you more. You’re more precious, Jesus.”
So, the inner essence of worship is experiencing Christ and all that God is for us in him as a more satisfying treasure than everything that death can take and life can give. That’s the inner essence of worship. To be a Christian is to be born again into that. That’s what happens when you become a Christian: your heart shifts off of preferring the world to preferring Christ. That’s the meaning of new birth. That’s the meaning of conversion.
To live the Christian life in all of its practicalities is to act out of that. And where people are not acting out of that, I don’t think what they’re acting is the fruit of righteousness.
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