This time, however, I'm going to share with you something that hit me just last night. So, forgive any lack of order, and here we go.
I was reading John Piper's Desiring God yesterday per Chris's suggestion. I had recently been telling Chris how I lacked joy in studying the Bible and praying, so he encouraged me to read through chapters five and six in Piper's book - the chapters on Scripture and prayer.
I found the chapters to be uplifting and helpful, and they brought me nothing but peace -- that is, until I reached a particular section of the prayer chapter. There, Piper was expounding on how prayer brings us happiness at the same time it brings God glory. As he put it (emphasis mine):
Prayer is the very heart of Christian Hedonism. God gets the glory; we get the delight. He gets the glory precisely because He shows Himself full and strong to deliver us into joy. And we attain fullness of joy precisely because He is the all-glorious source and goal of life. Here is a great discovery: We do not glorify God by providing His needs, but by praying that He would provide ours -- and trusting Him to answer.
Suddenly, I was stricken.
You might wonder why, and rightly so. The quote above is nothing but wonderful, right? I felt my heart fall, however, as I re-read the last sentence.
We do not glorify God by providing His needs, but by praying that He would provide ours -- and trusting Him to answer.
If you know me, you know how works-oriented I am, constantly thinking that I need to meet my Christian quota in order to earn or maintain God's love. You'd think I would want someone to debunk that myth for me. Many loved ones and mentors have tried. I always thought I wasn't getting over my works-guilt-complex because of some personal inability to do so, but on reading the aforementioned quote, I suddenly realized that I didn't want to get over the complex. I didn't want to pray for God to provide my needs and let him answer. I didn't want to glorify God, because I want to do it myself.
Because I want the glory.
After over ten years of being regenerate, how could it be that I still wanted glory for myself? Not only that, but that I wanted to deny God glory so that I could call myself self-sufficient? What dirty pride is caught up in that! I became humbled and ashamed of the state of my heart in this!
And yet now, in the midst of the shame, I feel a strange sense of joy, a warm flame building up inside me that reminds me: now that I know, I can change. This is the best place to start. Will I now pray to God for the power to change, or will I try to depend on myself, denying Him the glory so that I can say (if only in my own heart) that the transformation was all me?
I've talked a good talk about trusting God until now. Here I stand at the crossroads: I sin if I do not begin to walk these things out.