The most important pursuit is…

The most important pursuit is…
Posted on May 24, 2016  in Blog, Book Reviews and Recommendations
If you have never picked up one of John Piper’s little books in the “Swans are Not Silent“ series you’re missing out. Each one contains three vignettes on different individuals throughout the history of the church, from which you can learn about the life of another in an extremely accessible way. They would make for good summer reading and would bring you up to speed on names you may have heard but know nothing about, such as William Wilberforce, Charles Spurgeon, Augustine, Hudson Taylor, William Cowper, John Newton, and others.
Reading these books is not merely an historical excursion but of great spiritual benefit. While reading the latest volume, the following words of George Müller’s make clear for us what the ultimate pursuit in life is. I’ll simply quote some paragraphs, with some of Piper’s comments in between.
According to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.
Now while that may all sound well and good, the question immediately arises: how? How do we pursue this? How do we experience such fellowship with God? Müller asks these questions himself, but he also answers them.
But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.
Piper summarizes by writing, “Therefore, the most crucial means of fighting for joy in God is to immerse oneself in the Scriptures, where we see God in Christ most clearly. When he was seventy-one years old, Müller spoke to younger believers:
Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God’s appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man….Consider it, and ponder over it….Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter. If we do, we remain spiritual dwarfs. I tell you so affectionately. For the first four years after my conversion I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible. But when I regularly read on through the whole with reference to my own heart and soul, I directly made progress. Then my peace and joy continued more and more. Now I have been doing this for 47 years. I have read through the whole Bible about 100 times and I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace and joy have increased more and more.
Thus we have, from a brother advanced in years, the most important pursuit and the means of pursuing joy in the Lord. Will you give yourself to it?

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