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John Piper:

We need to ponder the superiority of God as our great reward over all that the world has to offer.

If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like every one else.

So take the things that drive the world and ponder how much better and more abiding God is: take money or sex or power or popularity. Think about these things.

First think about them in relation to death. Death will take away every one of them: money, sex, power, and popularity. If that is what you live for, you won’t get much, and what you get, you lose. But God’s treasure is “abiding.” It lasts. It goes beyond death.

It’s better than money because God owns all the money and he is our Father. “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).

It’s better than sex. Jesus never had sexual relations, and he was the most full and complete human that ever will exist. Sex is a shadow, an image, of a greater reality--of a relationship and pleasure that will make sex seem like a yawn.

The reward of God is better than power. There is no greater human power than to be a child of the Almighty God. “Do you not know that we shall judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3)?

It’s better than popularity. Fame is a pipe dream if you are only known by human nobodies. But if the greatest beings know you, that is a popularity of another kind. The greatest popularity is to be known by God (1 Corinthians 8:3; Galatians 4:9). And when it comes to angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14)?

And so it goes on and on. Everything the world has to offer, God is better and more abiding. There is no comparison. God wins--every time.

The question is: will we have him? Will we wake up from the trance of this stupefying world and see and believe and rejoice and love? And suffer?

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16 thoughts on “Having God Is Better than Money, Sex, Power, or Popularity”

  1. God’s love is better than life itself!

    1. Steve says:

      I’d go a step further; God’s love IS life!

  2. steve hays says:

    “It’s better than sex. Jesus never had sexual relations, and he was the most full and complete human that ever will exist.”

    That’s comparing the incomparable. Aside from the fact that Jesus has a unique psychological makeup (as the God-man), he also led a life of drastic self-denial. He didn’t come to be a husband or a father. He came to die.

    “Sex is a shadow, an image, of a greater reality—of a relationship and pleasure that will make sex seem like a yawn.”

    That’s a top-heavy inference sitting on a single, enigmatic verse of Scripture.

    1. Andy says:

      I agree with Dr. Piper that it is a shadow of the greater reality, but I think that an intimate understanding of and relationship with God will enhance our sex life by making us better lovers and servants for our wives… Certainly not a yawn.

      Otherwise, great stuff as usual from John Piper!

    2. Steve,
      Help me out – to which single verse are you referring? And if Jesus’ “psychological makeup” made him anything other than fully human, then He is not the second Adam and we’re all in a world of hurt. The world is relentless in throwing down the canard that sexually celibate people are somehow less than human. Piper’s point doesn’t minimize the importance of sex within marriage, but offers desperately needed perspective for those who are unmarried, and being bombarded with temptation.

  3. Ted Bigelow says:

    Wow! That’s so good! Thanks, John Piper!

  4. Brothers, I just launched a new blog on the spiritual life. Make your way over when you have a moment. You can find it at:


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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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