When I read verses like Philippians 3:17 (“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”) or 1 Corinthians 11:1 (“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”), I think of John Piper. Piper has consistently been an encouragement and a challenge to me, from first encountering his work when I was a high school student to seeing him preach last month at a missions conference. No matter how many authors I read, and no matter how many preachers I hear, I still hold John Piper in the highest regard. Today, I simply want to express my thankfulness for his ministry by highlighting a few things that have deeply influenced me in my walk with the Lord.
Piper finds joy in the Lord. The thesis statement of his ministry, that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him,” permeates all that he does. Pastor John’s work helped me to see that following God brings great joy, and that the Christian life, though it includes suffering, is nevertheless immensely joyful because of Christ. This truth has influenced me greatly. I can now sing with the psalmist who delights in the God of his salvation and in the law of the Lord, for the Lord is good and is worthy to be praised.
John Piper fears the Lord. When he prays, I hear reverence in his voice. When he speaks, I hear passion. I see in him a man who knows God, and who knows his place before God. He loves God and he loves others. When I began to grow interested in the fear of the Lord, Piper was the example I wanted to follow.
John Piper studies the Word of God and builds his life and theology on the foundation of the text. I don’t always agree with his conclusions, but I always respect and admire his devotion to Scripture. When what he sees in the Bible is unpopular with the world, he sides with the Bible. When he is criticized for holding so tightly to his convictions, he rests in the Lord. I do not see in Piper a double-minded man as James describes; I see a man of conviction, a man who loves God and loves truth, and a man who will not compromise for worldly gain.
Piper writes with an intentionality in all he does. He is not careless with his words. Rather, he works to use words to glorify his God, to edify the church, and to rescue the lost. My love for writing was encouraged by Piper’s intentionality in writing, and my love for poetry was validated in part by his poetry. Before encountering Piper, I wasn’t sure how my love for writing (poetry or prose) could be used in ministry alongside other roles. Yet Piper gave me a model of one who recognized writing as a part of his ministry and who did not abandon that ministry as he carried out other roles. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
God often uses the lives of others to shape us. He works through faithful servants to remind us of truth and to draw us to himself, to teach us his Word and to further our understanding of him. In my life, God has used John Piper immensely. I thank God for him and for his ministry, and I pray that I would serve the Lord with such reverence, such love, and such joy.