Ever post a Facebook status that involves praising your spouse, kids, family member, or close friend? Ever say something in a way that lifts them up and acknowledges something good about them? I think we all have.
So I have a question… Is it wrong to praise someone else other than God? Is it wrong to acknowledge someone’s ability and praise them for it?
Had you asked me a year ago, my general answer would have been “yes, it’s clearly wrong. God is the only one worthy of any and all praise.” In fact, I was a ‘snob’ about it. I want to be so incredibly Christ-centered in my thoughts and actions that any time someone posted something that even took one ounce of praise or glory from God, I would notice it, and consider pointing it out.
Now, my intentions about Christ being the center of all praise were pretty good then, and probably not too far off, biblically speaking. God is truly the only one worthy of eternal praise. But I was lacking in my understanding, and thankfully, God graciously helped me.
I was studying systematic theology many months ago, (a systematic approach to studying thoughts or ideas about God, a very popular book by Wayne Grudem) and I got to Chapter 13, “The Communicable Attributes of God.” Which covered many different attributes of God, such as His Love, Freedom, Glory, Perfection, Blessedness, and also the one that shed some new light, God’s Beauty.
It defines God’s beauty as “that attribute of God whereby He is the sum of all desirable qualities” and goes on to talk about that God has every single desirable quality and also lacks no desirable quality. It also states that “all our good and righteous desires, all of the desires that really ought to be in us or in any other creature, find their ultimate fulfillment in God and in no one else.”
Which reaffirmed my past thoughts that everything is about God and His infinite worth along with our thoughts needing to be centered and saturated with a Christ exalting gospel.
However, it finished with an incredible eye opening truth…
“We reflect God’s beauty in our own lives when we exhibit conduct that is pleasing to Him. We do it individually and corporately as His Church, His bride. And it is also right to delight in God’s excellence as it is displayed in the lives of others who are in Christ. It’s right to feel joy and delight in the fellowship with one another. When we delight in the Godliness of God’s people, we are ultimately delighting in God himself as we see His character evidenced in the lives of His people.”
Wow. So basically, I can enjoy God-like attributes as they are displayed in other people? Yes! When I delight in someone who is evidencing forgiveness or mercy or any God-like attribute, ultimately I am still delighting in God. I’m actually delighting in Christ, who lives in them. (Gal 2:20 – It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.)
So if this is true, then I can bibically praise others who evidence God’s character? Absolutely, and we can do it in a Christ-centered, God glorifying way.
Which leads me to the point of my post…
Last night I posted a picture on FB of John Piper preaching on a live stream at Passion 2013 on my computer. My quote to go with the picture was…
“John Piper live at #Passion2013 -This is going to satisfy my thirsty soul. He teaches God’s Word with passion! #JohnPiper”
Now, in case it isn’t clear, I said “This is going to satisfy my soul”, meaning that God’s Word was what was going to satisfy my soul. Only God satisfies! I want to be Christ-centered in all of my post’s. That’s always my aim. God truly does deserve all glory and praise!
But I want to make it known that I ultimately delight in God, the God of the bible, the same God who is evidenced in John Piper. When I hear Piper speak, I hear his incredible passion for God that is deeply rooted in God/God’s Word. God speaks through Piper and Christ is always supreme. One reason I enjoy Piper so much is because his love and joy for God shines brighter and more evidently than anyone else I have ever heard. He inspires me to love Jesus more than anyone else I have ever heard. He brings rock solid truth in God’s Word that magnifies the name of Jesus. Piper points me to complete satisfaction in Christ, and that’s why I delight in sharing Piper on my Facebook wall. I delight in people who evidence God-like attributes in their lives. I need these kind of people in my life, they are a gracious gift from God.
I thank God that He is evidenced in John Piper, in a way that allows me to ultimately enjoy God Himself.
-As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2)