30th January 2024
'John Piper talks about'
I don't know what you maybe unsure of.
I think the best thing I can do is to encourage you that the distress of confusion in the mind of 'God's child' will not last; it is part of a natural process of growth.
I recall when I was fourteen.
This is an analogy. I grew so fast that my shins hurt. Some of you may remember that.
It was exciting. Growth is exciting, and growth in your mind is exciting, growth in your body is exciting. And it was painful.
There were days I couldn't walk.
Or here is another picture.
This, I think, is more helpful.
The human mind is designed by God for coherence and order, where things fit together, and they don't absolutely contradict each other.
The human mind, made in the image of God, will not tolerate absolute contradiction.
Things need to fit together in some sense of order or coherence.
So the mind is bent on putting things together as best it can, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
I have in my mind that it if one of the pieces is taken out, because you see the Bible now teaching something different than that piece, (that was put in your brain when you were ten) and you say, "That is not a Bible piece."
And it comes out.
Then what happens?
Well, the other pieces move a little bit. They move a little bit because you might have to jostle fifteen pieces to put the new Bible piece back in.
And here is what I think makes us frightened to the point of weeping:
It feels as though all of those fifteen pieces might be wrong.
They shifted out of the position that they had. The thing that was giving them coherence just suddenly was gone and now we wonder, "Have I got to dismantle my whole mind?
I don't even know if I can handle all the pieces in my mind going out.
That is probably not true.
It is that the pieces are moving, trying to find their place again in the coherence.
And the more correct pieces you put in, it may take some time, but when those other pieces settle into their God-appointed niche, oh, it is so good.
But you have now got - to continue the analogy of the jigsaw puzzle - you have got a picture.
This picture is more beautiful than the other picture. That other picture always seemed to have the nose out of place or it wasn't quite what it ought to be.
But here is the catch.
Those all sound fine. "Yeah, let's just grow. Let's just add, add, add."
But here comes 2 Corinthians 10:5.
"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
When we read that as Christians, we tend to think, "Okay, I have got to get in sync with Paul and do that.
But I assume that not every opinion in my brain is a perfect opinion, and there may be some lofty opinions that get in there from time to time, or left over from when I was a kid, that need to be torn down.
And when that happens, I guarantee you, that demolition by the apostle hurts.
It is just not comfortable to have any of your thoughts, especially if they are old or cherished or from Mom and Dad, torn down by the apostle's teaching.
So just two encouragements. God does not leave us alone in our thinking.
The next phrase says, "for the Lord will give you understanding in everything."
And the last encouragement is: do what the psalmist did.
"Out of my distress I called on the Lord."
I am sure you are doing that.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
I just checked it in the Hebrew a few minutes ago.
When it says "the Lord answered me and set me free," literally, it is "put me in a broad place."
I am not trapped any more. I am not pinned down. I am not cornered.
I am not frustrated in my confused position anymore. He brought me out of my frustration, gave me a broad place in which to walk.
And this new picture of God in my mind is a beautiful place.
This is an edited version.
The full article and Bible references are avaiable on request
(@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Foundations for Lifelong Learning
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