But the more I think about these 7 weeks, the more I realize that God has a reason, a divine purpose for this time of waiting. And I want to know what it is. I don't want these 7 weeks to be wasted. You see, these past couple of weeks I have really been struggling and fighting against myself more than I ever have before. I'm realizing more and more that I am my own worst enemy. This flesh I live in puts up a really strong fight. It will do anything to keep me from delighting in and seeking after the Lord. The thing is... That's all I want:
One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
As I have been reading through a couple of John Piper's books - Let the Nations Be Glad and When I Don't Desire God - How to Fight for Joy - I am learning that God is ultimately glorified through the lives of those who are most satisfied in Him. It's this really cool cycle where God commands us to delight in Him. But we, as fallen, sinful beings, can't do that on our own. Only God can grant us delight in Him. So we get on our knees. We pray. We seek. One thing. Joy in Him. And when we receive that joy, He gets the glory for it. He gets the glory because He is the Giver of that joy (we can't take credit for it) and because it speaks volumes to the world when we treasure Christ above all things, even in the midst of suffering.
I was reading today in Piper's When I Don't Desire God and the name of the chapter is "The Fight for Joy is a Fight to See." I only made it through the first couple of pages before I had to quit and gather my thoughts. What I read was so simple (yet complex - it's John Piper...), and exactly what I needed. Basically the concept he presents is that in order to delight in God, it all starts with seeing the glory of God in the beauty of Christ. He says it like this:
"Nothing in the universe is more central than the radiance of the glory of God revealed in Christ for the enjoyment of his people. Therefore, the importance of seeing it for what it really is can hardly be exaggerated. For seeing it is foundational to enjoying it. And that joy is foundational for showing the worth of Christ in the world. It is foundational for the life of love and sacrifice and suffering that it sustains.
And here is the part that sums up my goal for the next 7 weeks:
Therefore beneath the quest for satisfaction in Christ - which sustains the life of sacrifice for Christ - is always the quest to see the glory of Christ. All strategies in the fight for joy are directly or indirectly strategies to see Christ more fully.
To see Christ more fully.
So this is where I now find myself. I have 7 weeks before I leave for Africa. 7 weeks to prepare. 7 weeks to ask you to join me in prayer that God would help me overcome this battle I fight against myself. I am struggling, and I need help.
To see Christ more fully. This is my prayer. It's all I want. I want to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. I want to run with perseverance the race marked out for me. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured far more than I will ever have to endure. Please join me in this prayer.