The Things of Earth – Joe Rigney

I’ve read “The Things of Earth” recently by Joe Rigney.  He’s looking at how we can enjoy the things God has given us in this world while not idolising them, but rather giving thanks to God for them (and more – read the book).  He’s from the ‘John Piper’ school of thought, so the sub-title is “Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts.”  It tied in well with Enjoying God by Tim Chester and his seminars at Word Alive (which are worth listening to when they come out).

Here’s one quote from 173-174 that certainly challenges! 

“Finally, keep the gospel central. When seeking to be the kind of character that God wants you to be in the story, remember that your main goal is to image God in Christ to those around you. Your aim is to be a walking gospel proclamation. You want to proclaim Christ crucified with your words and in your words. You want to portray him in your actions, attitudes, and demeanour, displaying the appropriate emotional and spiritual response in a given situation.

I’ve personally found that viewing all of reality as communication from God has a tremendous effect on my pursuit of holiness. Because if everything is speaking about God, then I am speaking about God in everything I say and do. And I will be either telling the truth about God or lying about him. I will be either an extension of God’s love for people or a barrier to their experience of that love.’ It forces me to ask, What would God say if he entered the room right now? What does he want said, and how can I say it in my words, demeanor, and actions? I can’t tell you how many times that sort of question has prevented me from saying or doing something sinful or foolish or has encouraged me to enter a room with a deliberate and Spirit-empowered intention to communicate God’s love or his faithfulness or his gladness or his displeasure or his playfulness.

In all of your life, you want to display the worth and value of Jesus and the vitality of the divine life. So ask yourself questions such as:

·         Am I a model worth emulating? Are my patterns of thinking and feeling worth passing on? Is what I say worth repeating? Are my emotional responses appropriate and fitting?

·         Do I weep when it’s time to weep? Do I rejoice when it’s time to rejoice?

·         When courage is required, am I as bold as a lion?

·         When it’s time to give advice, am I ready with wise counsel? When it’s time to receive orders, am I ready to take them with a glad salute?

·         Do I model leadership and initiative when appropriate?  Do I model submission and obedience when appropriate?

·         Do I take responsibility for my actions? Do I model how to humbly receive instruction and correction and rebuke from others?

·         Do I model wisdom and violence in the war against sin?

·         Am I an example of faithful suffering?

·         Do I give thanks always and for everything?

In seeking to live this way, we must remember the grace of God. It is grace that pardons us, grace that heals us, grace that strengthens us, and grace that empowers us to live the Christian life. And when we receive and proclaim and portray Christ in this way, we become the extension of God’s triune fullness in the world. Such a life is what creaturely participation in God’s life looks like on the ground. That’s the ball game. That’s the whole enchilada. That is the great calling to which we’ve been called.”

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