Sunday, May 15, 2011

Addicted to Stuff: Isolated from God

Hebrews 13:12-14
12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 

There are some people that are not distinguished by their intelligence, their compassion, or their appearance...they are distinguished by the anointing of God on their lives.  The Holy Spirit pours out of their body through every action and every word.  John Piper is one of those men.

This morning my husband and I were listening to one of his sermons (click here to listen- you won't regret it!!!).  It rocked our his sermons seem to always do.  He is a man that is so in tune with God, evidenced not only by the words he says, but the way he lives his life.  But I'm not here to talk about my crush on Piper.  I'm here to share a bit about how his sermon touched my life and changed my heart.

This verse in Hebrews was the foundational passage on which his talk was founded.  A passage describing Jesus as a man who went "outside the gate".  Out of His safe place and into risk and order that we might be saved.  It is a passage that calls us, as believers, to do the same.  It is a passage that begs us to live a life of:

"risk-taking flavor. A gutsy, counter-cultural, war-time flavor to it that makes the average prosperous Americans in your church feel uncomfortable. A strange mixture of tenderness and toughness that keeps worldly people a little off balance. A pervasive summons to something more and something hazardous and something wonderful. A saltiness and brightness, something like the life of Jesus."

A life that considers that lives as though it has nothing to lose....because it considers it's life on this earth as nothing, looking toward the "city that is to come".  A life that, as Piper puts it, "treasures Christ above the accumulation of stuff."

There is so much more to this sermon, but this is where I want to camp out.  In the land of the Rich Young Man.  A man who was so bogged down by STUFF, that he could not fully enter into the life of Christ.  Essentially, it was his stuff that led him to his death.

We can't go far in our relationship with God without taking the time to recognize our addiction to stuff, to things, to material gain.  It's a snare that we are all stuck in, if we are truly honest with ourselves.  I, for one, am no different.

This sermon called me back to a very basic place...a place that I had every so slowly wandered from, without even realizing it.  It called me back to the place that declares everything garbage compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus. 

I don't know how I got here.  Without even realizing it.  I find myself at a place that gets excited more about the material than about the spiritual.  Surrounded by things, and surrounded by people who do the same.  Something has gone terribly wrong. 

Piper explains that the accumulation of health and wealth will NEVER be what draws the world to Jesus.  You see, this is what they seek as well...if Christ is the so called "ticket" to prosperity, well, they can find another way.  You don't need JESUS to have money and things....anyone in the West can get to those things without Him.

True life comes not with the accumulation of treasure, it comes in the changing perspective of what your treasure really is.  For me, that treasure is Jesus.

A treasure that has changed my life in more ways than I could ever begin to explain.  A treasure that has saved me from despair, discouragement and death.  A treasure that begins here in this world, and leads me into another...a treasure that will never end.

Thank you, John Piper, for the reminder of what it means to really follow Christ. 


1 comment:

  1. Amen. Will make a point to listen to this sometime. Thanks for sharing!


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