A review of Living in the Light: Money, Sex, and Power, by Dr. John Piper. (Find out how to win a free copy below!)
A few years ago I co-lead a small group of young adult men with my friend Kyle. One of the books we read was Living in the Light: Money, Sex, and Power, by John Piper. The subtitle of the book says it well: Making the Most of Three Dangerous Opportunities.
I enjoyed and was challenged by this short read by Dr. Piper. In this post I share a brief summary of the book as well as some thoughts on why this book challenged me in so many different ways.
Piper starts the book with this line: “God did not conceive and create money, sex, and power simply to be a temptation. He had good purposes in mind (Pg. 9).” He captured my attention with sentence #1 of the book. Money, sex, and power exist ultimately to show that God is better than any of those three things. The problem is that we often exchange God for the inferior satisfaction we believe the things of the world will provide (Romans 1:23).
How to See Money, Sex, and Power in the Right Way
Chapter 1 – We often think of money, sex, and power like icebergs floating in the ocean. We see a little good above the surface, but below the water lies danger that can sink the ship. Piper encourages the reader to instead think of money, sex, and power as floating islands that can provide support, joy, satisfaction, and the glory of God. We need to rethink the ways we think about money, sex, and power.
At the same time, we either possess a heart that values God over all other things, or we value those things over God. We need to make the right decision or else we’ll attempt to steal God’s glory while seeking satisfaction apart from Christ.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 – Piper describes the dangers and the opportunities associated with sex, money, and power. He challenges the reader to examine the decisions they’ve made with regard to money, sex, and power, and how they can return them to their rightful place in their lives.
When our hearts are distorted vertically towards God, it plays out in the horizontal relationships with other men and women. He challenges the reader to be fully satisfied in God instead of seeking primary enjoyment in money, sex, and power.
Chapter 5 – Piper describes what happens in your life when you return money, sex, and power to their rightful place. He says it’s like returning the sun to the center, where it rightfully belongs. In this chapter he also describes the ways Jesus handled the temptations of money, sex, and power when He walked the earth. I completed this chapter wanting to be more like Jesus in every way.
Chapter 6 – Piper describes what happens when money, sex, and power are in their rightful places and how those things can be used to help God’s people and glorify God. Instead of becoming like instruments of sin, our money, sex, and power can be used to help others, grow our love for the Lord, and help lead others as we steward power in the right ways.
In typical Piper fashion, he challenges the reader to see God as He deserves to be seen. God’s not trying to rip us off. When you “keep Christ as the blazing center, you will be satisfied, the world will be served, and God will be glorified (Pg. 152).” Living in the Light: Money, Sex, and Power would be a great read for a small group, a men’s group, or to read it on your own. Just make sure you share what you learned with others, because this book will challenge you to think about how you handle three dangerous opportunities we are afforded in money, sex, and power.
What are some ways you seek pleasure or satisfaction from money, sex, and power?
Think of someone in your life who you believe stewards money, sex, and power in a God-glorifying way. What are some of the things they do that lead you to admire the ways they live and the choices they make?
I have one copy to give away of this book. Leave a comment below on which topic you need the most counsel: Money, Sex, or power. I’ll pick one winner from out of all the answers in the comments below.
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