The new years is fast upon us, and as Christians ponder new resolves for 2015, pastor and theologian John Piper is posing a challenge: resolve to make "Christ-exalting" the featured adjective in your prayers throughout the year.
In a post featured on his Desiring God blog, Piper, who is the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, explains: "In other words, the aim of this New Year's resolution - to make "Christ-exalting" the featured adjective of your prayer life - is to help you pursue and enjoy the highest purpose of our existence - exalting Christ in all we think and feel and do. This small grammatical change can awaken a new passion for making much of Christ in everything."
The "Don't Waste Your Life" author then highlights three reasons why "Christ-exalting" makes a great New Years resolution.
First, God teaches us in the Bible that the primary aim in the life of a Christian is to live a Christ-exalting life and a Christ-exalting death.
Piper quotes the apostle Paul's writings in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, which states, "fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by God's power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [us]."
"In other words, exalting Christ should be the aim of everything we do," the pastor explains, "We "resolve" and we "work" so that Jesus "may be glorified."
Second, Piper writes that making a "verb into an adjective shows that it modifies a hundred things you do rather than simply being just another thing." In other words, using "Christ-exalting" as an adjective emphasizes to the heart, soul and mind of the believer that glorifying Christ is the highest goal of all emotions, thoughts, and actions.
He adds: "Something dramatic and profoundly biblical happens when you don't list 'exalt Christ' as a separate aim alongside the others, but as an adjective modifying the rest. Lord help me show Christ-exalting patience, and Christ-exalting kindness, and Christ-exalting gentleness, and Christ-exalting faithfulness, and so on."
Third, Piper writes that using the adjective"Christ-exalting" allows Christians to pray in a manner far different from that of unbelievers.
He explains that all unbelievers, such as Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and even Satanists, pray and also ask God for things such as protection, health, joy, and forgiveness.
"You don't need the transforming work of the Holy Spirit to want any of these things," he argues.
The difference between the prayers of a Christian the those of a non-believer, Piper says, is that their deepest longing and desire is that Jesus Christ is exalted.
He explains: "You love Christ. You treasure him supremely. You have tasted and seen the all-satisfying glory of Christ. Christ is not your butler. And prayers are not your bell-ringing for him to bring you what you want. He what you want. And you want him exalted, honored, glorified in everything. Listen as people pray. You will find out what they treasure most of all."
As 2015 approaches, Piper hopes Christians will pray for a year full of Christ-exalting joy, Christ-exalting love, and Christ-exalting fruitfulness.