In preparation for my social media fast I’ve been reading A Hunger For God, Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer, by John Piper.
How many ways can you say conviction?
I mean, I thought I was going to need a new highlighter…and I was only in the introduction.
Below are some of the quotes from the introduction (I’m in the fifth chapter, so I’ll pull more quotes from the other chapters as we go).
- “Desires for other things”—there’s the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.”
- The fight of faith is a fight to feast on all that God is for us in Christ. What we hunger for most, we worship.
- The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. Jesus said some people hear the word of God, and a desire for God is awakened in their hearts. But then, “as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). In another place he said, “The desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). “The pleasures of this life” and “the desires for other things”—these are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God.
(If you didn’t read all of the above because the amount of text was so overwhelming, do your soul and sanctification a favor and re-read it all. When we grasp the above, our lives will be changed.)
- Anything can stand in the way of true discipleship—not just evil, and not just food, but anything. Nor should it be surprising that the greatest competitors for our devotion and affection for God would be some of his most precious gifts.
- Now here was a radical kind of fast: the sacrifice of a son. God did not call for this “fast” because Isaac was evil. On the contrary, it was because in Abraham’s eyes he was so good. Indeed he seemed indispensable for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Fasting is not the forfeit of evil but of good.
- A real lived-out human act of preference for God over his gifts is the actual lived-out glorification of God’s excellence for which he created the world.
- The strongest, most mature Christians I have ever met are the hungriest for God. It might seem that those who eat most would be least hungry. But that’s not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, and an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord.
- If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.