Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 1:07 PM

Book Review: Don't Waste Your Life

I just finished John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life."

Within the pages of the book John Piper examines what it means to live a life not wasted. He begins with addressing the irrationality of existentialism and skepticism and turns to proclaiming the glory of God. How do we live a life not wasted? Simple: We live to glorify God. We live to delight in God. He spends some of the book trying to show that the two are actually one, then turning to practical applications of what that entails.

It is not about being loved (made much of), but rather it is about loving God. This life we live is not for ourselves, but it is lived for the God who bought us at a price.

"We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life. God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is."

From that definition, John Piper launches into an examination of what that entails: Boasting only in the cross, magnifying Christ through pain and death, living a life of risk for God, loving our neighbors by making their love God, living to prove he is more precious than life, living a life of faith at the workplace, at missions.

All in all I found this an excellent book. Piper grounds his theology in Scripture through the first few chapters, and the practical application show us that theology is not a dry thing left for those who have nothing better to do, but rather is necessary to all of life, especially in how we live it. I found particularly convicting his usage of a warfare metaphor, how Christian life should be portrayed as warfare, involving strategic usage of our resources (good stewardship), an long term planning idea, and a refusal to compromise. Too often, Piper declaims, our statement is "there's nothing wrong with it, I can excercise my Christian liberty" when it should be "How does this glorify God?" I think he's absolutely right, and it is especially true in my own heart, when there are many things that I can get defensive about and say (and believe I can prove) that nothing is wrong with it, but as to setting forth God's glory... probably a little bit more difficult.

There was one thing I was not a big fan of, and that was his continual emphasis upon God being our delight. While I do agree with his discussion on how it should be one and the same as seeking God's glory, it seems that Piper errs a bit when God being our delight is most of what he talks about. If he balanced his terminology a little bit more I would be a lot more at ease, but as such, one can always remind one's self that "making God our delight" was the same thing as "glorifying God" and things would be ok. I am merely concerned that people will come away with a anthro-centric view of things by picking and choosing when it seems Scripture is much more explicit about God's glory being the chief end of man rather than man's delight in God (Eph. 1 is far and away the clearest example of this).

Whatever the case there was some that jumped out in particular.

His chapter on making Christ known in the workplace was particularly convicting. Do we face trials and deadlines like unbelievers? Do we idly waste our God given time like unbelievers? Do we act day in and day out like unbelievers? So true! And my first instinct, of all things, was not to repent, but was to say "wow this will be very applicable for me in the workplace!" Instantly my heart was cut. Did my christian life not really begin until I got a job? Was I unable to be a Christian witness while I was in school? Couldn't I take those very points and apply them to the way I react to exams, to homework, to relationships with friends and classmates?

Do I react to finals and homework like an unbeliever? Or rather, do I work at it as if working for the Lord, seeking to magnify His glory? Do I trust His sovereign provision no matter what grade I get or do I get stressed out to the point that I procrastinate in order to flee from my duties like I am prone to do? Do I work for God's glory in such a manner that people are willing to come to me not only with questions regarding spiritual matters but also questions of understanding of what was discussed in class? Do I operate under integrity?

I was simply cut to the heart, longing to set so many things right, but not knowing where to begin. Praise God for His glorious grace in spite of my failings, His gentle leadings (and sometimes harsh rebukes) that bring me closer to Him.

To live is Christ and to die is gain. Soli Deo Gloria

My recommendation: Own it


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