Wholeness comes as we praise the glory of his grace
I love the way John Piper starts out his post, which is a copy of his speech to the American Association of Counselors. He says, I am a man
- who must crucify the love of praise every day;
- who struggles with the same adolescent fear at age 63 that he had at 15, the fear of looking foolish;
- who is prone to feel self-pity and pout when he doesn’t get loved the way he wants;
- who is almost never sure he has used his time in the best way and therefore struggles with guilt;
- who is short on compassion and long on critical analysis;
- who can freeze up emotionally when he’s tired, and feel instinctively that it’s someone else’s fault;
- who loves to praise God in the great assembly and feels a constraint on his spirit in his own living room;
- who has loved his wife of forty years imperfectly and spent with her over three of those years with a Christian counselor trying to become better images of Christ and the church;
- and who never feels sure that his motives are pure, including right now, for why he is telling you all this.
I am sure he does this on one level because he is speaking to a room full of counselors but on a deeper level so that they will see why he needs and loves the grace of God. The grace of God enables us to behold the glory of the Son of God and beholding that glory, we are transformed (Jn 1:14-16 and 2 Cor 3:18) into that same image. Thus, we discover what we were created for–that we might praise the glory of his grace (Eph 1:14-16). Piper says,
If praising God’s glory is our final destiny, then seeing and savoring and praising God’s glory must be at the heart of what it means to be fully human. Seeing and savoring God is, therefore, the heart of mental health.
And here is where Piper makes a point that so many of us get wrong, “Authentic, heartfelt, truth-based, God-centered praise is the mark of mental health, not a means to mental health.” As we behold His glory, as we praise His glory, we are made whole but that is not why we praise His glory. God reaches out to us in loves and we have a deep experience of His love so that God receives more glory from our praise. As Piper says,
“. . . feeling loved by God means feeling glad that God not only crushed his Son for me, but that he is now crushing every vestige of desire in my life that competes with the pleasure of the praise of the glory of his grace.”
And for all of us who have had some experience of the healing that God’s grace brings to us, we recognize that we would never have come to this point on our own. Piper closes out about this point,
There is only one hope for Christ-exalting transformation in our preaching and our counseling—the supernatural work of God giving us eyes to see and hearts to savor the all-satisfying beauty of the glory of the grace of God. When that happens, our obsession with self will be broken, and beholding the glory of the Lord, we will be changed into his image from one degree of glory to the next.
Classic John Piper, bringing us back to the Scriptures and to what is of supreme importance, the glory of God.