They can be harnessed to the greatest of good purposes or exploited to the most terrible of harmful purposes. All three are considered ghastly to some while they are worshiped as gods by others. While the book began as a series of conference messages, this is no lazy port from one format to another, but a careful, skillful rewrite and expansion.
Sponsor Become a Patron Piper opens the book exactly as we might expect him to: God did not conceive and create money, sex, and power simply to be a temptation.
He had good purposes in mind. Money, sex, and power exist for the great aims of God in human history. They are not detours on the path to God-exalting joy. With them, we can show the supreme worth of God. To show how that happens is one of the aims of this book. Therefore, the approach I take is to pursue the potentials of money, sex, and power as well as the pitfalls. That is, paradoxically, how they become most satisfying in themselves.
First, the matter of definitions, for we cannot assume that we mean the same things even by such common terms. Money is a form of currency, of course, and a means of assigning value to objects or services, but it goes far deeper than that.
It is a means by which we show where our treasure is; who our treasure is. The use of money is an act of worship—either of Christ, or of something else. What makes sex virtuous or a vice is not the pleasure, or the pursuit to give it or get it , but something deeper. There are foundational issues of submission to the word of God and the condition of the heart. How you use your power shows where your heart is, what you love, what you treasure most—what you worship.
Every one of us has been involved in their use and abuse. Every one of us has benefitted from their use and suffered from their abuse. In every case he celebrates the good gift of God, he describes its purpose within the economy of God, and he warns of the ways the twisted human heart perverts such goodness. The very delights and passions and ecstasies of God-designed sexual intercourse in marriage are the kinds of pleasure God himself conceived and created.
They come from him. They are something of him. He is that kind of pleasure-knowing, pleasure-imagining, pleasure-creating God. And therefore when we taste those pleasures, we are tasting something of God. We let the darkness of the lie persuade us that one illicit pleasure or another is more to be desired than God. If that could happen—if the blazing beauty of the sun could be restored to the center of the solar system of our lives—then money, sex, and power would gradually, or suddenly, come back into their God-glorifying orbits, and we would discover what we were made for.
We would escape the broken solar system we made when we exchanged God for something else. It illustrates how sinful humanity will take good things, and especially the best things, and use them for the lowest, meanest, most selfish purposes. It describes the importance, the beauty, and the benefit of seeing each as a path to glorifying God by finding satisfaction in God.