Money, Sex, and Power: March’s Book of the Month
March’s book of the month is John Piper’s Living in the Light: Money, Sex, and Power. You can pick it up at the booktable or even download a free PDF version from Desiring God. I have created a reading plan with suggested helps that you can download as well.
I have read almost every single one of John Piper’s books, and in my opinion, this is one of his best and most helpful. He keeps the book short and to the point but not does skimp for a second on profound and practical theology. In just six chapters, you will learn why money, sex, and power are so associated with sin. Yet, when these three are viewed properly in relation to the One who created them, we can see how money, sex, and power are, at their core, great gifts designed to magnify God, not things to avoid.
“God did not conceive and create money, sex, and power simply to be a temptation. He had good purposes in mind,” Piper writes. Money, sex, and power are wonderful gifts, but they make horrible gods. As we have been learning as Scott preaches through Romans 1, sinful humanity refuses to honor God or give Him thanks, but rather with darkened hearts, we foolishly exchange the glory of God for things that He created. “The way you think and feel and act about money, sex, and power puts your heart’s treasure on display—either God or something He made.”
Power is a capacity to pursue what we value, money is a cultural symbol that can be exchanged in pursuit of what we value, and sex is one of the pleasures that we do value. So at the heart of our sin problem is a problem of seeing the surpassing value of God and ordering our lives accordingly. Piper gives very practical helps in the fight against sin and the pursuit of glorifying God by calling our attention away from these lesser pleasures. Our sinfulness against God doesn’t require a slight change of direction, rather, our fight against sin needs a radical reorienting of our heart in relationship to God. We must “wake up to the all-satisfying glory of God. If that could happen—if the blazing beauty of the sun could be restored to the center of the so- lar system of our lives—then money, sex, and power would gradually, or suddenly, come back into their God-glorifying orbits, and we would discover what we were made for. We would escape the broken solar system we made when we exchanged God for some- thing else.” When this happens, items that we abused for sin, become enjoyed more fully with increased pleasure because they have been restored to their proper place.
I cannot commend this book more highly. It is easily read in one month; however, the going might be tough. These are weighty truths that must not merely be understood. You must not merely know that God is all-satisfying, but rather find your satisfaction in Him and reorder your relationships to lesser pleasures. I recommend you get a reading partner and go through this book together, speaking regularly about what you are learning and resolving.