The Great Enemy of Hunger for God
My deepest need and longing is not for things or relationships or experiences or accomplishments, but for God himself—the God who loves me unconditionally, with an everlasting love which I cannot earn or merit. It is not dependent on my efforts or feelings—not even on how well I worship. It is the love of a God who for all eternity has poured himself out within the Trinity, and who pours himself out throughout history to all that he has made, a God who seeks from the people he has made a response to that love. What does that response look like?
John Piper writes, “The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. . . The greatest adversaries of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable” (Piper, A Hunger for God, 1997, p. 14). How easy it is to go through a whole worship service and be swept away by the sound and atmosphere, and never to truly engage with God himself.
God can receive the praises of people in any style of music—but that is a far cry from saying, “Because that is not my style of music, your musical offering is not valid; therefore you must use my style.” Nor can we say, “Because I don’t understand or appreciate your style, I can’t worship.” It simply means that only God is big enough to fully appreciate the vast diversity of styles which have been imagined and created by his creatures, those made in his image. It also reminds us that our growth in ability to worship God in spirit and truth will involve a willing submission to the truth of our oneness in Christ, and an acceptance of the diversity within the body of Christ.