The Traps of the Heart

The Pastor as ScholarMy wife, because she loves me, gave me a book.

The Pastor as Scholar & The Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry, by John Piper & D.A. Carson (Crossway 2011). It is a short book with a long title and a powerful punch.

Early in chapter one, Piper is commenting on the Philippians 2:3 and the word translated in the KJV as “vainglory” (NIV, “vain conceit”). The whole context is an admonition to imitate Christ. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” 

Then Piper makes this trenchant comment:

“The love of praise—human glory—is universal and deadly.”

Thought bomb.

If Satan wanted to devise a system or a culture that strove with every pulse of its heart to create and stimulate and enhance every human inclination toward “vainglory”, every thought for human praise would it look anything less than the culture we find ourselves emersed in right now?

The Facebook, Instagram, Twitter culture of likes, shares, comments, and reposts is insidiously and inherently dangerous to a Christian’s life purpose. We are to live our lives seeking to glorify God, not ourselves. We are to live for His kingdom not our little fiefdoms of transient fame. But everything around us tells us that fame, notoriety, being “a star” is the epitome of accomplishment. 

Even the flaccid knowledge that some people are famous for nothing more than being famous doesn’t puncture the bubble of the illusion that “fame” is important. But that is what it is. An illusion. What is important for we who follow Christ is not who knows us, or likes us but training our hearts to delight in God. What is important is living for an audience of Him who died for us, not those who re-post us.

Let’s swim against the tide. Let’s beware of the traps that the culture has for our hearts. Let’s fight the good the fight. Let’s live passionately for and like Jesus.

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