Friday, August 29, 2008

It's all about you

Did you watch Obama's speech last night? I did. Overall, I was unimpressed. Though he's a very charismatic leader and tells people what they want to hear, I think it stops there. But, I didn't bring up the speech to discuss all of that. One line stood out to me during his speech. It was toward the end. He made the comment the this election has never really been about him, but ultimately all about you. And of course everyone went nuts.

It reminded of something that profoundly changed my thinking about God several years back. It's the idea that He is all about Himself. Here's the way John Piper puts it:
"God’s own glory is uppermost in His own affections. In everything He does, His purpose is to preserve and display that glory. To say that His own glory is uppermost in His own affections means that He puts a greater value on it than on anything else. He delights in His glory above all things."
This means He could never have said what Obama said last night. If we make much of God only to the degree that we think he will make much of us, we've got it totally wrong. And the Bible is full of statements like in Isaiah 48:9, "For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off." Also, later in Ephesians 1, Paul says things like this: "he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious grace"

But you might ask, isn't that pretty self-centered and egotistical of God to be all about Himself? Here's Piper's thoughts on that:
"God is unique as the most glorious of all beings and totally self-sufficient, he must be for himself in order to be for us. If he were to abandon the goal of his own self-exaltation, we would be the losers. His aim to bring praise to himself and his aim to bring pleasure to his people are one aim and stand or fall together."
Well, you could also ask why should I praise Him? C.S. Lewis answers that:
"But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians and scholars...My whole, more general difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses, but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are, the delight is incomplete till it is expressed."
Basically, I'm thankful that this life is not all about me. This is a richer, deeper, more satisfying joy to be had in God if I would just stop being so dang self-absorbed and learn to sit in His presence where there is fullness of joy.

If you want to read more on this subject (also where these quotes came from), check out this sermon and this sermon. They're both incredible.


  1. Dude, it rocks that your tags can say "barack obama" next to "God's glory" =) Great comments, and an awesome reminder about the healthy egocentrism that our God has. Thanks!!

  2. Anonymous11:41 AM

    what do you think about politics being all about the people, a servant of the people? in a way, i agree with Obama's quote. if governments are meant to superintent their citizens in order to yeild the highest quality of life (e.g., life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness)for all, shouldn't our president be all about us?
    i enjoy that sermon a lot.

  3. ethan
    I do agree that its okay for Obama to say that. It should be about us mostly. However, it shouldn't be all about us if that means merely giving us what we want rather than what's good for us, or going against Truth. Mostly my thoughts are a tangent of where my brain went when he said those words.