Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Piper on Overcoming Guilt

John Piper, in the latest issue of Christianity Today, has written an article called "Gutsy Guilt." In it, he has given us a model for fighting guilt based on Micah 7:8-9. This article is based on a sermon he preached at the Passion 07 conference in Atlanta in January. (By the way, this sermon is worth the reading/listening.) Here's what he says:
"Micah 7:8-9 is what victory looks like the morning after failure. Learn to take your theology and speak like this to the Devil or anyone else who tells you that Christ is not capable of using you mightily for his global cause. Here is what you say.

"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy. You make merry over my failure? You think you will draw me into your deception? Think again. When I fall, I shall rise. Yes, I have fallen. I hate what I have done. I grieve at the dishonor I have brought on my King. But hear this, O my enemy, I will rise. I will rise.

When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.
Yes, I am sitting in darkness. I feel miserable. I feel guilty. I am guilty. But that is not all that is true about me and my God. The same God who makes my darkness is a sustaining light to me in this very darkness. He will not forsake me.

I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me.
Oh yes, my enemy, this much truth you say: I have sinned. I am bearing the indignation of the Lord. But that is where your truth stops and my theology begins. He--the very one who is indignant with me--will plead my cause. You say he is against me and that I have no future with him because of my failure. That's what Job's friends said. That is a lie. And you are a liar. My God, whose Son's life is my righteousness and whose Son's death is my punishment, will execute judgment for me. For me! And not against me.

He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
This misery that I now feel because of my failure, I will bear as long as my dear God ordains. And this I know for sure--as sure as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is my punishment and my righteousness--God will bring me out to the light, and I will look upon his righteousness, my Lord and my God."

This is a blessing for anyone who struggles regularly with a besetting sin. I think we can all appreciate Piper's ministry for words of wisdom like these.

Resting in Christ,

Todd

P.S. - Thank you Steve for sending this my way! Thank you brother!

5 comments:

Mary said...

Wes and I were blessed to be able to spend an hour or two this afternoon with Steve, Rod, and Justin when we happened to run into them at the mall today. Completely God's doing...Steve and Rod had no idea Justin would be working that mall, Justin had no idea he would be getting off work early, and Wes & I had almost decided to go somewhere else before deciding to stop at the mall for a quick bite to eat. We began a lengthy discussion on a counseling ministry and Steve brought this up and Justin read it to us. How incredibly powerful!

One thing I shared was how much our mentality can determine our attitudes and how we live our lives. When we listen to what Satan tells us about how awful and worthless we are, we are dragged down into a pit of misery. We will be convicted by sin, but God will not constantly slam our sin into our face to beat us down like the devil will. At the beginning of this year, I reflected back on how miserable I had been feeling over various things in previous years...just listening to Satan's lies and sulking over them. But I made a change this year. This time I told myself "this will be a good year!" Yes there were cruddy things that happened. But overall I've been much happier and much more content. And this is not some "Spiritual Lessons with Oprah" episode where I discover the power was in myself. But it was like a lightbulb finally turned on, where I finally listened to God when He was telling me that I didn't have to listen to Satan and buy into his lies. That if I kept my focus on Him, He would help me rise from these situations and circumstances.

"Rejoice not over me, O my enemy. You make merry over my failure? You think you will draw me into your deception? Think again. When I fall, I shall rise. Yes, I have fallen. I hate what I have done. I grieve at the dishonor I have brought on my King. But hear this, O my enemy, I will rise. I will rise."

Amen! This is a good year...and by golly, next year will be too! :)

Mary said...

p.s. sorry I keep writing novels...I tend to do that. :\

S. Todd Young said...

Thanks Mary! It's so nice to have people comment! I don't mind the length at all. Hope you have a great rest of the week... month... year! :-)

Thad said...

Hi Todd. Not sure if you'll remember me-we hung out at Wicks a few years back when a mutual friend of ours had a birthday.

This is pretty good stuff from Piper. This same material made it into his "When I Don't Desire God" book and video series. Our church went through the video, and I thought it was helpful.

I hope you all are doing well. Lord bless.

S. Todd Young said...

Hey Thad! Of course I remember you. Justin talks about you guys all the time! Thanks for the comments!