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Idol Smashing

Matt Privett writes a timely post about how it seems many Southern students (and alumni living and ministering in the area) have made an idol out of John Piper. You can read the post here.

It seems God had just this in mind when He allowed Reese to use my hearing aid for a chew toy. I had his chapel dates marked prominently on the calendar in my office. But there was no way I was going to waste my time by going to see a preacher I can’t even hear. (And you have absolutely no idea how frustrated I am by that. There will be a post forthcoming on that topic.) So instead of going through the hassle of asking the seminary to secure an interpreter, or just going to see him anyway, I opted to stay home and sleep, as usual. Given what the doctor has been telling me about the effects working 3rd shift is having on me, that’s probably a good thing.

But I found myself pretty annoyed that I would have to miss his messages. I heard him speak when I first came to Louisville and Southern way back in 1999, and that encounter literally changed the focus of my Christian life. I was pretty aimless when I came here; after hearing him speak, picking up Desiring God afterward, and reading it over a week, I suddenly understood what my purpose and God’s purpose in saving me was all about. In fact, I think I’m gonna make Desiring God the next book to come off the bookshelf. It deserves a re-read.

But as I said, I was annoyed that I missed him. And then I read Matt’s timely post. This quote in particular stood out from a commenter:

The test Dr. Scott gives for “heart idols” is this: If I will sin to get it, or if I will sin if I don’t get it. This is where you made a good point. If you are sinning against your professor (and home church, and CP and wfe ect.) by leaving class then your pursuit of Piper gone wrong.

It dawned on me then that if I had gone to see Dr. Piper, I would have likely stayed up and gone to see him with no sleep, since I find it difficult to sleep unless it is daylight these days. In so doing, I would have been sinning against myself by denying myself much needed rest. I would have been sinning against my wife by denying her the time with me she needs while I slept. And ultimately, I would have been sinning against God because through not taking care of my body by resting, I would have failed to give him glory in my body (1 Cor. 6:20). And in failing to give glory to God in my rest, I’d have sinned against Dr. Piper by not adhering to his exhortation to glorify God in all things.

And in not getting to see Dr. Piper, I have already sinned by allowing my frustration to affect my inward attitude. I’ve resented the dog somewhat, and I’ve certainly resented my deafness this week. It reminds me of some of my close Deaf friends who’ve lamented to me in weaker moments that they wished they were “hearing.”

Matt’s point can be applied to many, many things in our lives. If something we desire would cause us to sin to get it, or sin if we don’t get it, then we simply don’t need it. And this week I didn’t need to go and see John Piper speak in chapel. Instead I needed to glorify God in my deafness, rest, and spend time with my wife and with the Lord. And beginning today, with the help of the Holy Spirit I intend to do just that over the next week.

Categories: Commentary
  1. March 30, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Stephen,

    Thank you for the kind words about the post. Get some sleep 🙂 and God bless.

    For His Glory,
    Matt

  1. June 29, 2007 at 10:01 pm

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