I recently got to hear John Piper preach at the Catalyst Atlanta conference.
Although I have my differences with Piper on theology and practice, I have to admit this was one of the most powerful sermons I have ever listened to in person. His passion for Jesus is nothing less than inspiring and infectious.
The theme of conference was “Known” and so Pastor John spoke to us on the fundamental identity of human beings as being made in the image of God. He pointed out that many speculate on what it means to be made in God’s image. Some say it is humanity’s capacity for love or relationships, or that it means we reflect some other aspect of God’s character.
Piper says this is missing the common-sense meaning of what an “image” is and does. Fundamentally, an image draws attention to what it is “imaging.” A statue, for instance, draws attention to the person or object it is a statue of. Even abstract works of art point beyond themselves to something deeper.
Therefore, as beings made in the image of God, we are to draw attention to him; this is called giving God glory.
But, Pastor John admits, this seems to pose a problem. What do we do with the megalomania that God seems to demonstrate by erecting 7 billion+ statues of himself on the planet? Isn’t this abuse? Isn’t God just using me?
Far from it. We are created in such a way that we actually experience the greatest pleasure, happiness, and perfection when we are in genuine fellowship with God, and witness to God’s surpassing greatness in every area of our lives to others.
We point to God not out of a sense of coercion but because we genuinely enjoy and delight in him! So his glory and our good are built to intersect. This is where’s Piper’s famous catchphrase starts to make sense, even to this non-Calvinist:
“God is most glorified when I am most satisfied in him.”It’s tough for me to do this profound concept justice, but I think I’m convinced that it is what the Bible teaches.
You should really listen to the sermon for yourself.