. . . and on the subject of enjoying God, he’s really right.
I don’t mean to throw more fuel on the fire of this “hearing God” thing. Personally I think John Piper’s original article should be much, much less controversial than it is. The main thing that seems to be happening is that people are extending what he actually said to cover a great deal more ground. He may be right or wrong on many other things, but on this one he’s right, and I enjoyed that article.
Adrian is also right about enjoying God. What is it with gloomy Christians? It seems almost as though some people are afraid that we might enjoy ourselves too much in church and miss out on all the serious stuff. In a perpetual search for doctrinal correctness, they fail to call people to joy as well.
Now I’m not suggesting here that truth is unimportant. I think it is very much important to be right. Otherwise I would not respond to things in Christianity that I think are going dangerously wrong–even, for example, to respond to some of the hostility I sense to joy. I think it is true that we are supposed to enjoy God.
My seminary experience, however, tells me that one can get a great deal of knowledge of God without enjoying him and without finding a relationship with him. My own seminary experience, heavily focused on Biblical studies was a progressive experience of learning more and more scripture and becoming more and more isolated from the community, and even from private devotion and worship. My life became totally centered around knowing stuff about God, and God himself faded into the background.
Again, don’t get me wrong here. The knowledge is good, but it needs to go with a living experience, and I think that experience will be reflected in joy, a joy that stays with you even in sorrow. Without that joy I would not have made it through the last several years of my life, and I thank God for it. The same several years have made it clear to me also, however, that a sense of euphoria based on little or no foundation won’t work either.
I hope all Christians will seek the joy that comes from experiencing God’s presence and hearing his voice, wherever and whenever they can.