I just recently finished reading Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper. This is the second Piper book I’ve read, the first being Desiring God, and I was again struck by his passion for the glory of Christ. That’s what this book is all about really.
In Don’t Waste Your Life Piper is attempting to stir up in his readers a passion for Christ that will spill over into their every day lives. He wants us to spend our lives for the advancement of Jesus’ kingdom, not our own.
As I read through a work, I underline and mark certain passages that strike me in one way or another. In this review I thought I would just share a few of the ideas that stood out to me.
Many people go through life looking for the easy way out. In each situation they ask “What is the least I can do and get away with it?” Early in the book Piper shares his own disgust with this way of thinking. He wants his life to count for something. I can agree with him. I want my life to count as well. The difficult thing as an elder and teacher is this, “How do I inspire those around me to the same desire?” I think the answer is in leading by example, and clear teaching. I can’t inspire others to do something if I’m not doing it myself. I have to make sure I don’t waste my life. And then I need to teach them how to not waste their own life. That’s what Piper is doing in this book.
On page 19 Piper talks about the inspiration he found while reading C.S. Lewis. He said this:
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern.
Piper says this in reference to the books he reads and feeds his soul with, I would also apply it to the music we sing. Just because a book or song is old, doesn’t mean it is ‘outdated’ or irrelevant to worship or instruction in our culture today. And just because a book/song is new doesn’t mean it is relevant, or theologically sound, and should necessarily have a place in the lives of Christians today.
On page 32 he makes this point.
Glorify does not mean add more glory to God.
He goes on to describe the use of the word magnify in the sense of doing what a telescope does and bring something grand into view, letting us see it for what it really is. That is what we are to do with God, magnify him.
Page 76 finds Piper defining Christ’s love for us.
Love is not Christ’s making much of us…Love is doing what he must do, at great cost to himself (and often to us), to enable us to enjoy making much of him forever.
And that is our purpose for existence, to make much of Christ. We do that with the way we live, the way we talk, the way we serve others. This means the Christian life is more than just avoiding sin, it is a life of action, or risk, of service. On page 159 Piper makes it clear that we should not feel like we must choose between loving people and magnifying Christ, these are the same goal.
Acting on one [motive] includes acting on the other. Thus, if you aim is to love people, you will lay down your life to make them eternally glad in God. And if your aim is to glorify Christ, who is God incarnate, you will also lay down your life to make people eternally happy in God.
The reason for this is that any good-hearted goal, without the desire to give people eternal joy in God, is condemnation with a kind face…Similarly, any effort to honor Christ that does not aim to make him the all-satisfying Treasure of God’s treasonous subjects is complicity in the revolt. God is only praised where he is prized.
Ultimately where this leads us it to missions. If we care about people, and we have a passion for the glory of Christ, we must care about missions. The quote I’ll leave you with is this, where Piper is explaining the reason we should care about missions.
Missions exists because worship doesn’t…Worship, therefore, is the fuel and the goal of missions.
I would recommend every Christian who wants to make their life count for Christ should read this book. Make your life count, don’t waste it!