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Killing boredom

“The supremacy of God in the life of the mind is not honored when God and his amazing world are observed truly, analyzed duly, and communicated boringly. Imagination is the key to killing boredom. We must imagine ways to say truth for what it really is. And it is not boring. God’s world – all of it – rings with wonders. The imagination calls up new words, new images, new analogies, new metaphors, new illustrations, new connections to say old, glorious truth. Imagination is the faculty of the mind that God has given us to make the communication of his beauty beautiful.”

-John Piper, God Is Not Boring


January 30, 2011   No Comments

Fear and Desire

Have you ever thought about why you fear what you fear? Or why people call fear “the great motivator”?

Fear motivates us because it is fueled by what we desire. As David Powlison explains,

“Fear and desire are two sides of a single coin. A sinful fear is a craving for something not to happen. If I want money, I fear poverty. If I long to be accepted, I’m terrified of rejection. If I fear pain or hardship, I crave comfort or pleasure. If I crave preeminence, I fear being inferior to others…[fear and desire] are complementary expressions of cravings on earth.” (in Seeing with New Eyes)

Looking at it another way, sinful fear is not a lack of confidence. It is misplaced confidence. Fear of failure, for example, says that I’m confident that success will make me happy. Fear of what others will think of me suggests I’m confident that man’s approval will satisfy my heart’s desires.

Too often, I think that the feeling of fear or “fear itself” is the problem and I work to eliminate it. But I will always desire something. As long as my deepest desire rests in something or someone other than God Himself, simply working to eliminate fear serves no good purpose. In fact, it will breed other types of sin. George MacDonald writes:

“Persuade men that fear is a vile thing, that it is an insult to God, that he will none of it—while they are yet in love with their own will and slaves to every movement of passionate impulse and what will the consequence be? That they will insult God as a discarded idol, a superstition, a thing to be cast out and spit upon. After that how much will they learn of him?” (Quoted by John Piper)

Fear, like desire, has a place in a Christian’s earthly life. Both remind us that life as we know it now is incomplete and imperfect. But unlike sinful fear which chokes and cripples, godly fear re-orients our hearts toward Christ — the author and perfecter of our faith. John Piper writes,

“The point after which fear will have no proper place in the Christian’s life is the point at which his love is perfected. But none of us is yet perfected in love; none of us is without moments in which his delight in God fades and the “things which are seen” become deceptively attractive…the fear that we are to feel as Christians is itself a work of grace. It is a fear which casts us back into love for God and trust in his mercy, and thus destroys itself. Fear is the proper servant of love for imperfect saints.”

(Photo: GViciano)

September 10, 2010   1 Comment