The Fight for Glory

I sat just outside the main venue all day interviewing others. I had a few minutes before John Piper would be sitting down with me—he was still on the platform speaking—so I snuck in the back and sat on the floor. He was nearly 4,000 people away, so I just sat and stared at the carpet. But I had walked into something.

God with us.

God was showing himself to a room full of women, and staring at the carpet felt like the right thing to do.

Piper said, “If you love the glory of man you do not love the glory of God.” I started shaking, but the room was already trembling. We weren’t trembling before a man, we were trembling at our souls before God. Scary thoughts raced through me as he spoke.

Do I even love God?

Why do I crave everyone’s approval?

I want to fear you, God, above all else.

I want to tremble before you every day.

Piper prayed, and I looked up. He was gone and on his way to sit down with me.

I wiped tears and ran to the chair and the cameras rolled. We planned to talk about the conference and the women, but it all seemed small and trite after tasting God. International peace treaties would have felt small at this point. So instead we talked about the glory of God and the day Piper will face Jesus.

The Fight for Glory from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

With hundreds standing around wanting time with him we stood. I was going to say “thank you” and find a corner where I could fall apart. Instead he looked me in the eyes and said, “Tell me about you.”

The war unleashed in me fell out in a few words. “I’ve just begun my journey into the world of publishing and speaking about God, and I am scared I am going to lose my soul. I am scared I will crave the glory of man more than the glory of God. I would rather die loving God most than die having had a successful ministry. I want to run from this.”

He smiled at my tears and then spoke words that will mark my spiritual life. “When I was just beginning to write and receive praise for it, I felt the same fight. So I quit. I went back to being a professor.”

An exit strategy from my new writing career began formulating in my mind as he continued. “But the fight followed me. I found myself fascinated with accolades and longing to hear about the lives of students who were changed by me.”

He continued, “If the fight for my affection was going to be everywhere, I decided to fight in the place I loved. I love to write. I don’t know why, but I love it. So I am going to fight this war here. We aren’t alone, Jennie. The apostle Paul even fought it. We all are fighting to love God most.”

I gave him thin words of thanks and handed him over to the many waiting to try to thank him, too.

How do you thank someone who gives you God?

As I write about this today I am burning. Our God is worth this fight. And if there is a sober, honest bone in your body you’ll admit that this is a fight! It is a full-on war to love God more than any visible thing or person on this earth, even more than ourselves.

In the moments I tremble before God I wonder how I could ever, ever love anything but him. He is better. He is joy. He is where our souls were made to be.

You can’t run from the fight. It will follow you wherever you go.

Tremble on. Fight on. You are not alone.

Where are you fighting?

  • Fellow Conferencer

    Thank you, Jennie, for your honesty. How encouraging it is when writers are so honest – and help us see Christ magnified in our weakness.

  • Women Living Well

    Such an encouraging video – thank you! And Jennie – I’m printing out what you just wrote because this may mark my spiritual life as well – I have the same struggle – thank you for this!
    Lots of Love,

  • Robin Koshy

    Very convicting. Thanks I need to hear this every day. Haha, Piper says how he fights for God’s glory: “I have an ‘app for that.” Nice!

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  • Jennifer Upton

    Your words of trembling brought me to tears. I wanted to be there on that carpet in the room of four thousand feeling small before God. I am fighting in my tiny Atlanta abode writing daily on my tiny blog where I feel most small. Most days I feel I am playing a game of make believe, yet I keep fighting. I am fighting to tell the story God has written for me. I am fighting to do it even if no one reads me. I just know I must tell and tell well. I know to tell well I must not want glory for myself, but in reality I crave it..often. A hard truth to admit, but I know there is power in the telling. Our focus can only be to bring Him glory, this I know. Therefore I will continue to fight. I pray you do the same.

  • Lindsey Carlson

    Were you inside my head?

    I was sitting on the carpet that day, doing the same thing.

    Trying to explain this conference to friends and family when I came home was the hardest thing I’ve ever been asked to do. How do you explain the tangible feeling of God? No words. Thank you so much for answering my heart’s questions from a place of perfect understanding and wisdom. You were the recipient of Piper’s words of grace, but you’ve become the vehicle of grace for all of the other writers that needed to hear those precise words today.

    Grace to you as you continue the fight to make the Gospel the only thing worth exalting! Praise to Jesus.

  • Tantoh


  • Judy

    Trembling and fighting with you Jennie. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  • Dan

    Love this. Thanks so much!

  • Ann Voskamp

    Yes. yes. yes.
    Only and all for the glory of God… Oh please, do the work in us, Father…

  • Amanda

    Thank you for your honesty. I am now craving a spot on a piece of carpet before God. I need to fight for His Glory.

  • Celeste Barnard

    All I can say is thank you.

  • Christy Fitzwater

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! I am a beginning writer and have a spent a year wrestling with how “building a platform” fits in with the humility of a Christian. Dr. Piper has undone me, too, and I’ve now posted his words on the corkboard behind my computer. I’m going to fight as a writer. Thank you 10 million for posting this.

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