The Power of Imitating a Faithful Life

Every year at the Desiring God pastor’s conference, John Piper preaches from the life of a historical, faithful Christ follower and holds them up as an example to emulate.

In the spirit of Hebrews 13:7, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith,” Piper walks through the most teachable and exemplary moments throughout their journeys.

You can access the entire archive of talks here dating back to Jonathan Edwards in 1988. I recommend starting with Wilberforce, Spurgeon, Edwards, Brainard, Judson and Whitefield, but they are all great in their own right.

This year, Pastor John will be talking about Robert Murray M’Cheyne.  I’m excited to glean from this man’s life!

“I’ve Hidden Your Word In My Heart…”

I have committed and recommitted to memorizing God’s Word at different times during my life.  I’ve made flashcards, printed pages of text, marked them up, asked people to hold me accountable, and even listened to passages over and over using audio bibles.  All of this in an attempt to systematically increase the Scripture I know cold.

I’m excited about the recent update John Piper and his ministry Desiring God have made to their memorization system called Fighter Verses.  They have put together five sets of 52 passages which are designed to help Christ’s followers fight the fight of faith.  Piper is leading his church in memorizing a weekly verse for the next five years.

Focusing on one or two verses a week is a great pace and its also encouraging there are other people at Bethlehem Baptist (Piper’s church) and around the world who are working on the same verses week by week.

Several years ago, Piper preached a sermon “If My Words Abide In You…” on John 15:1-7.  He began the sermon taking 20 minutes to recite from memory Psalm 1, Psalm 16, Psalm 103, Romans 5:1-8, Romans 8, Matthew 6:25-34, and 1 Corinthians 13.  It was a powerful testimony to the blessing in his life of memorizing God’s word.  Piper then gave these personal reasons he memorizes God’s Word:

1. Memorizing Scripture makes meditation possible at times when I can’t be reading the Bible, and meditation is the pathway of deeper understanding.

2. Memorizing Scripture strengthens my faith because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, and that happens when I am hearing the word in my head.

3. Memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming my mind to God’s viewpoint.

4. Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.

5. Memorizing Scripture guards my mind by making it easier to detect error—and the world is filled with error, since the god of this world is a liar.

6. Memorizing Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.

7. Memorizing Scripture provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to others in need.

8. Memorizing Scripture provides the matrix for fellowship with Jesus because he talks to me through his word, and I talk to him in prayer.

Desiring God has produced sets of flashcards to help, but also produced an iPhone app that I’ve been using for the last couple days.  I’m committing to memorize these passages with them over the next five years.  I’m excited to see the way God will use these verses in my own life and the people he might send my way who need the encouragement only these verses might offer.

You can see the list of all 260 verses HERE.

If you’re interested in working on the fighter verses too, let me know so I can pray for your efforts!

How to Pray for the Soul (Yours or Another’s) by John Piper

This morning I was reading in John Piper’s devotional Taste and See, about “savoring the supremacy of God in all of life.” I read an entry on how to pray for the human soul (both your own soul and the souls of others) and found it very helpful. I hope to begin praying this prayer for myself and others everyday. I have summerized Piper’s points and given the primary scriptures referenced.

1.Pray for an inclination to God and his Word.

“Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to gain” ~Psalm 119:36

2.Pray to have the eyes of your heart opened.

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” ~Psalm 119:18

3.Pray for your heart to be enlightened with these “wonders”

“…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” ~Ephesians 1:18

4.Pray for your heart to be united for God.

“O LORD, I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear Your name”
~Psalm 86:11

5.Pray that your heart will be satisfied with God and not with the world.

“Satisfy us in the morning with Thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” ~Psalm 90:14

6.Pray that you would be strong in joy, persevering during the dark seasons.

“That [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man”
~Ephesians 3:16

7.Pray that you would produce good deeds and works of love for others.

“That [we] will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord…bearing fruit in every good work” ~Colossians 1:10

8.Pray that the name of the Lord would be known and feared and loved and cherished and admired and praised and trusted because of your life and ministry.

“Hollowed be They name” ~Matthew 6:9