Few authors are as consistent in their message over a long period of time as John Piper. For nearly 4 decades, Piper has been working out a theology that emphasises the glory of God with laser focus and crystal clarity. His latest offering, Walking in the Light, is no exception.
In this work, Piper identifies three areas of human existence – money, sex, and power – that can be used to either uphold or detract from God’s glory. He works this out in the terms of Romans 1:23, with each holding potential for an exchange of the glory of God for a lie. Where God is most valued, he will never be exchanged for things of lesser value such as influence, a salary, a spouse etc. Thus, they can be used in service of God. However, where they are valued more highly than God, an exchange is made, with something perceived to be lesser value (God) exchanged for something perceived to be of greater value (sex, money, power).
The key, then, to appropriate appreciation of power, sex, and money lies in properly appreciating the glory and worth of God, particularly as appreciated in the person and work of Christ. Piper uses the analogy of a solar system set up to orbit around the moon rather than around the sun; the solution is to restore the sun (the Son!) to the centre, live in ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Cor. 4:6).
Piper’s analysis seems sound, and it is refreshing to have an approach that does not flee too quickly to labelling everything ‘idolatry’ (even though that is what it is), but dwells on the implications of that (God is neither valued nor glorified). I highly recommend this short book to Christians at all stages of their journey.