Always Looking to Jesus

Posted: May 31, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

But what’s important for us to see is the WAY he is doing this. I want to be free this summer, don’t you? I don’t want to be enslaved. I don’t want to live under the burden of being told to do things I don’t have any desire to do. But I don’t want to turn away from God and make my deceitful desires the center of the universe. That would be the worst kind of slavery, in the disguise of freedom. What I want is for my desires to be so transformed by the Spirit of the Lord that when God commands me to do something, my whole heart says, “YES, Lord!”

How shall that happen? It will happen, as verse 18 says, by steadily looking to Jesus, the Lord. The Holy Spirit—the Spirit of the Lord—has one main task, to glorify Jesus (John 16:14). To help us see him and show him. Therefore when we turn to the Lord and set our hearts on Jesus, the Spirit works to help us see him. He opens the eyes of our hearts to apprehend and appreciate and savor and cherish and treasure the glory of the Lord. And then by that means he changes our inner drives and desires and longings so that we want what Jesus wants, and are free.

When Jesus says, love your enemy, we are free because the Spirit is working this very love in our hearts as you look to Jesus. When he says love your neighbor as you love yourself, we are free, because the Spirit is working in us this very love as we look to Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is love. When he says, love one another with tender, family affection, we are free because, even though this does not lie in our power to do, we can, degree by degree, grow into this freely, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. He is in us awakening those very affections as we steadfastly look to Jesus.

The Spirit is not working this transformation in us without reference to Jesus. Not while we watch endless hours of empty, trifling TV; not while we dribble our hours away aimlessly exploring the World Wide Web; not while we set our minds on things that ignore Christ. No. The Spirit moves and works and frees in a very definite atmosphere, namely, where we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord Jesus” (v. 18). The Spirit exalts Christ. The Spirit opens the eyes to Christ. The Spirit applies the image of Christ to or soul. If we choose not to focus on Christ, if we go our own way and preoccupy ourselves with other focuses in life, then let us not say, “Where is God?” when we bear the painful fruit of our bondage to sin; and experience the law of God as a burden rather than a joy. He has told us the path of freedom. If we spend our days and evenings looking elsewhere, we will probably stay bound up in all our enslavements.

from a sermon by John Piper, “Summer Is for Seeing and Showing Christ

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