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John Piper: Treasure God More Than His Gifts

Do you treasure God, or just the gifts he gives you?

That’s the question John Piper asks in this video of a message he delivered this month at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Piper uses the story of Job to illustrate how important that question is to God.  In Job, Satan argues that Job’s devotion to God stems only from the children, wealth and health that God has blessed him with.  Satan tells God, take those away and Job will curse you to your face.

Job did lose everything and although his responses were not perfect, he did not curse God, passing the test.

From that story Piper draws this principle: “God is to be treasured and enjoyed more than his gifts” and he asks two questions:

  1. What is it like to delight in God?
  2. Is that delight your highest duty?

Piper says it is possible to delight in God when we remember that He is a person. Our satisfaction is not in an idea, thing or action but in someone real. Ideas, things and actions help us get a “taste” of who God is.

For example, bread shows us God’s provision, a mother’s embrace signifies God’s love and affection and money represents God’s worth.  They are a foretaste of what it is like to enjoy God.  If our enjoyment terminates on them then we are idolaters.

Piper also provides three reasons why being satisfied with God is our duty.

First, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).  Piper says “the essence of loving is delighting when God is the object.”

Second, Jesus said the other is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39). Piper points out that love for people is the overflow of our love for God and is an equal obligation to loving God.

Finally, the glory of God is the greatest reality in the universe.  We exist to magnify God’s glory and God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied with him.

The Passion Conference is an annual gathering of  young adults 18-25 years of age.