Four Impulses at the Heart of Desiring God

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Holiday seasons and turning points in life are good times to marvel at the providence of God in our lives. For me, tonight, that means marveling at the existence of Desiring God and what God has made of it.

Desiring God turned 20 this year. When this little “tape ministry” began in 1994 the internet was still a kind of science fiction for the average American — including me. Google was still four years away. I had used a personal computer for ten years. But it was a glorified type-writer, as far as I was concerned.

The ministry had an in-house name: CHEF (Christian Hedonism Expansion Fund). We simply loaned cassette tapes from the church library, and sold sermon manuscripts from a file cabinet outside the church office for a donation. Jon Bloom was responsible then. And, as president, he is still responsible today — to a very gifted board of directors.

Among the many things that thrill me about this ministry (staff, vision, growth, impact, philosophy, donors, creativity, message, etc.) it’s the impulses at the center that move me tonight. Here are four of them that I love.

At Desiring God we are tethered to the Bible.

“There are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John [6:64]–68)   There is in us an impulse to hold on to the Bible. We have seen friends, family, and ministries turn away from the Bible. But when Jesus turns to us at Desiring God and asks, “Do you want to go away as well?” We answer with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The Puritans said that the best way to protect people from the devil is to put them out of taste for the bait he puts on his hooks. Yes. And the best way to put your mouth out of taste for the bait of sin is to enjoy the food of biblical truth.

This belief is at the heart of Desiring God and how we do things. Protection from error is not just a matter of having clear and true thoughts. It’s a matter of finding superior satisfaction in the reality of God behind those thoughts. At Desiring God, clear thinking is the culinary art of bringing out the best taste of God’s word.

That is why we love the Bible and tether ourselves to it. All the food is there. And it is eternally satisfying. For ourselves and the millions of folks who stop by for a morsel, this is what we eat in the kitchen, and this is what we serve at the table.

At Desiring God we take hold of what is truly life.

Fight the good fight of the faith.Take hold of the eternal life . . . The rich are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy [6:12]18–19)   There are two parts to this impulse. Life is war. And we don’t fight for half-gods.

We work hard. Push hard. Think hard. Love hard. Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and Treasure. Paul is our hero. He says, imitate me, and we say, “Yes sir.” “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. [3:13]–14).

Written by John Piper
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