John Piper:

Unbroken seriousness of a melodramatic or somber kind will inevitably communicate a sickness of soul to the great mass of people. This is partly because life as God created it is not like that.

There are, for example, little babies in the world who are not the least impressed with or in need of our passion and zeal and earnest looks. They are cooing and smiling and calling for their daddies to get down and play with them. The daddy who cannot do this will not understand the true seriousness of sin, because he is not capable of enjoying what God has preserved from its ravages. He is really a sick man and unfit to lead others to health. He is, in the end, earnest about being earnest, not earnest about being joyful.

The real battle in life is to be as happy in God as we can be, and that takes a very special kind of earnestness, since God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.

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4 thoughts on “The Danger of Being Earnest about Being Earnest”

  1. Dean Davis says:

    “God threatens terrible things if we will not be happy.”

    I read this once before, and have ever since felt there could not be a single sentence in any language better suited to killing my joy.

    Why should threatening have the last word, and why must the anger of God trump his own goodness, love, and joy?

    1. J.Clark says:

      What kind of father is at ease with the trivialities of his children?

    2. anonymous says:

      Dean, I agree. That particular sentence stuck out to me also for some of the same reasons you (very eloquently) articulated.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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