Comfort worthy of the name?


John Piper
A comfortable life may deny 
us the experience of comfort.

In this third brief post on the theme of comfort, John Piper comments ….



‘Pilate’s authority to crucify Jesus did not intimidate Jesus. Why not? Not because Pilate was lying. Not because he didn’t have authority to crucify Jesus. He did. Rather, this authority did not intimidate Jesus because it was derivative. Jesus said, “It was given to you from above.” Which means it is really authoritative. Not less. But more.

So how is this not intimidating? Pilate not only has authority to kill Jesus. But he has God-given authority to kill him. This does not intimidate Jesus because Pilate’s authority over Jesus is subordinate to God’s authority over Pilate. Jesus gets his comfort at this moment not because Pilate’s will is powerless, but because Pilate’s will is guided. Not because Jesus isn’t in the hands of Pilate’s fear, but because Pilate is in the hands of Jesus’ Father. Which means that our comfort comes not from the powerlessness of our enemies, but from our Father’s sovereign rule over their power.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7

Pilate has authority. Herod has authority. Soldiers have authority. Satan has authority. But none is independent. All their authority is derivative. All of it is subordinate to God’s will. Fear not. You are precious to your sovereign Father. Far more precious than the unforgotten birds.’

For more about John Piper’s ministry and writing, see


victory at all costs…(6)

“Whoever does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33

Do we possess our possessions?

Or do our possessions
and our desire for more
possess us?


We understand (we say) that Jesus would want us to give up all that we have that is sinful; like those Ephesians who, when they believed in Jesus, came confessing and divulging their practices…and a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.’ Acts 19:18-19

But can it really be that God, in Christ, calls us to renounce even the good things that he himself has given us and that we have received with humility and thankfulness?
Yes, Jesus calls us to ‘renounce’ all that we have.

The word Jesus used ‘renounce’ is the same word one ‘maybe’ disciple used when he asked Jesus if he could not be allowed first to go home and say goodbye to his family before setting out with Jesus.


Jesus wants his disciples to say goodbye to all that we have (or might ever have); if not yet in fact, then certainly already in our hearts so that we are freed from things and to him.

Jesus wants us to hold so loosely to our possessions that we may be free, as he requires us, to live as those first disciples did, who ‘…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers’  Acts 2: 42 so that we might, as he blesses us, share their experience of discipleship.

giving‘And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.’ Acts 2:44-47

Dr. Jphn Piper comments
, ‘God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions. The evidence that many professing Christians have been deceived by this doctrine is how little they give and how much they own. God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistable law of consumer culture (baptized by a doctrine of health, wealth, and prosperity) they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, better (and more) meat, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun. They will object: does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper his people? Indeed! God increases our yield, so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our God. God does not prosper a man’s business so that he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a man’s business so that 17000 unreached people can be reached with the gospel. He prospers the business so that 12 percent of the world’s population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.’
John Piper ‘Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist’



John Piper
‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.’

Romans 12:2 


Dr. John Piper, in a series of sermons preached in 1990, asks, in relation to this verse from Romans, ‘How shall we get this new mind?’ You can listen to his entire sermon here but I was particularly challenged by his suggestion, that, if we are serious about this ‘transformation’, we should, ‘focus our attention on the Glory of God’.

  • He mentions three verses from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth;

‘And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’
2 Corinthians 3:18

‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.’
2Corinthians 4:16

‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’
2 Corinthians 4:18

Then he says, ‘Do we want to be made new? Then stop watching the world!’

Family TV‘Why (do) we want to be entertained by the unbelieving so much?
Why are we so hooked on television, video, movies and radio?
We say, ‘World; tell me, show me, feed me, shape me, make me.’

‘That’s what we are doing…but,
‘You become what you behold!’’

He says, ‘Might there not be some insight here as to why we live in weakness and failures in the temptations of our lives? Why we don’t have the effect in the world that we would like to have? …Is there perhaps some correlation (with) the fact that we focus so much on the world, we live in the world, we ooze world, we watch world, we read world…’

‘You become what you behold!’

Jesus poster
He asks, ‘Do you want to become holy? Do you want to become new; so that you see like Jesus, think like Jesus, feel like Jesus, love like Jesus, care like Jesus, and judge like Jesus?’ If you do, there is an agenda to follow: Watch Jesus; a lot!’