I picked up John Piper's book Desiring God this afternoon and decided it seemed like an appropriate time in my life to start reading it. To be honest I've always been a bit intimidated by the book and Piper's other writings in general. Books that contain paragraphs (no pages) that I have to reread multiple times to understand tend to frustrate me more than challenge me. After having some good quality time with God this morning though I felt like it was a good thing to do.
I'm only a few chapters in so far but I've already been intrigued/inspired by one of the quotes Piper includes from C.S. Lewis' book The Weight of Glory.
"If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ."
I had a good conversation with Nic about this earlier because it confused the mess out of me. I mean aren't we taught in Romans and the gospels to neglect ourselves? The thing I'm missing though is we do those things not just to do them but to become closer to Christ. I'm still wrestling with the quote and I left out the last paragraph b/c of length but do you have any thoughts?