By John Piper
I have always believed that reading books can expand the mind， touch
the heart， and enrich the soul。 They can also cause your imagination
to do some funny things at times。 I can remember several years ago
reading a book where the hero went through several tragedies and at one
point in the midst of his pain and torment cried out： “Where is
Love？”。 At that moment in my imagination I leapt into the story，
grabbed him by the arm and told him： “It’s everywhere！ It’s
everywhere！”Love is everywhere。 You just have to open your heart to
Everyone was born with two lovers: one is time, the other is ourselves.
They accompany us throughout our whole life. They are your golden key to
a happy life.
Time goes smoothly, we almost can’t sense its pace. Usually our days
are all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and
dusk. When each day is the same as the next, is it because people fail
to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that
the sun rises.
An email question has come in from the West Coast: “Hello Pastor John.
I’m a college student in the Bay Area, California. In my first year of
college, I’ve found your sermons and books quite helpful on my spiritual
journey for joy. Thinking back to your early days at Wheaton College and
your annual involvement at the Passion Conferences, what advice would
you give to college students today?”
For me it is there every time I watch the dawn break upon a new day。 It
is there every time a brisk winter breeze blows across my face。 It is
there in the first flower of Spring。 It is there in the green grass of
Summer。 It is there in the last leaf of Fall。 It is there every time
my handicapped sons give me a hug。 It is there every time my daughter
laughs at one of my dumb jokes。 It is there in the adoring eyes of my
old beagle and my new puppy。 It is there in the purring cat that naps
on my chest。 It is there in the smile of the clerk behind the counter。
It is there in the old man who opens a door for me。 It is there when I
read a letter from a friend。 It is there every time I pray。 It is
there in everything I write and every act of kindness I do。
No matter you are poor or rich, time is fair for everyone. Time loves us
despite of our ignorance of it. It records our life traces and keeps
carving them onto our body. It will leave you some creases around your
eyes if you like to smile. It will carve you lines between your fair
brows if you are used to being sullen. You will have a benevolent
looking if you have a warm heart
Pastor John: Well, I jotted down seven pieces of advice. And there could
have been a lot more. Here they are:
Time is powerful. It is time who can create or destroy this world.
Shakespeare’s sonnet 19 says :
1. Be Loving God
Love God with ALL your HEART and SOUL and MIND and STRENGTH. It is the
first and the great commandment (Matthew 22:37–38). That is, use your
mind, your college-educated mind, to feed the fires of the heart with
the fuel of truth. Let everything you study function as a means of
inflaming the heart. Put all of your intellectual and physical effort
into guarding and fueling your heart. Never give in to the emotionalism
which neglects thinking or the intellectualism which neglects the heart.
Loving God with the heart is the great essence of why the universe was
created.Treasuring God over all things.That is what loving God means.
The mind and the body — when it says love God with all the heart and the
mind and the body — the mind and the body are the servants of the heart.
And then the passions of the heart become visible through the mind and
The Bible tells us that “God is Love。” And since God is without
beginning or end then so is love。 It fills all of His creation。 It
fills us as well every time we open our hearts and souls to it。 Don’t
shut out love then。 Don’t live your life in pain。 Open your heart
instead。 Share your love instead。 You will find that the more love you
give away， the more love you will have。 You will find that the more
love you share， the more God’s love will surround you。 You will find
that when you live your life in love， you will find love everywhere。
“Devouring time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
2. Be Loving Others
The second commandment is like it. “You shall love your neighbor as
yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Be a servant in college, not a
self-preoccupied, self-exalting egoist.If you want to be happy, want
others to be happy just as much.That is what “love your neighbor as
yourself” means. If you want to make good grades, want others to make
good grades. If you need help with math, give Jim, give Jill help with
English. If you want to be in a home for Thanksgiving, help someone else
be in a home for Thanksgiving. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself
doesn’t start after college.
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
3. Be Saturated in the Bible
Ten minutes a day in the Bible will not cut it in this world.This is the
very word of God. Read it. Meditate on it. Memorize large portions of
it. I didn’t hear anyone recite from memory a paragraph of the Bible
until I was 28 years old. I only heard verses. Never for 28 years in the
church. I never heard a paragraph of the Bible recited from memory. Oh,
the effect it had on me!
When Art Lewis recited Matthew 6:25–33, that was paradigm-changing in my
life. Memorized chapters of the Bible are important. Memorize chapters.
Memorize whole books. Memorize the Sermon on the Mount. Memorize
particular psalms.I doubt that anyone will be an effective Christian in
our day standing against the culture, and for the culture, without much
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
4. Be Done with Self-Reliance
Be done with all vainglory, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance, and
cast yourself daily on the Lord to help you with everything —
everything. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” — nothing
(John 15:5). Believe that. Believe that. Make it part of who you are. “I
can do nothing without Jesus.” And then turn to Proverbs 3:5–6, “Trust
in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on [or rely on] your
own understanding. In all your ways [every one of them — every hour,
every minute] in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make
straight your paths.” So turn every hour to God afresh. Turn to him
afresh and pray, pray, pray for his supply of strength and wisdom and
grace to do everything you do.
You are not your own. You live in the strength of another. He bought you
for this. So learn to do this; namely, “whoever speaks, as the oracles
of God; whoever serves [that’s us, every minute], as one who serves by
the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be
glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever
and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).So pray, pray, pray — be done with all
moment-by-moment self-sufficiency, and be utterly dependent on God.
And burn the long liv’d Phoenix in her blood”.
5. Be-Long to a Church
Belong to a Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered church that
preaches the whole counsel of God, and be connected there with God’s
people.Don’t wait till after college to be a mature, responsible church
member.Break the mold of late adolescence who think that life is just
play and school. It is not. Life is responsible membership in a local
church relating to people of all kinds and all ages. So grow up. Break
the mold of those around you, and grow up years ahead of them.
When we drove across Isreal, I saw the weathered mountains which was
made of different layers of rocks standing in the distance. I stared at
them and they stared back at me，just like an old man who is thousands
or millions years old welcoming me. It made me feel small. I wept,
profoundly impressed by its elemental force.
6. Be Guarded from the World
Guard yourself from craving what the world craves.If you find that
hanging out with unbelievers is making you love what they love rather
than helping them love what you love — the one you love — back off and
fill yourself with love to truth and to God some other way. Same with
media. If the computer, the phone, the tablet is making you crave what
is destructive to your soul, lay it down. Cut off your hand. Tear out
your eye.Do what you have to do to be radically devoted to Jesus and his
Time is a long lived current, but our life is limited, so we should
cherish our life, never wasting time, so as to have the opportunity to
realize our dream. We were born with our personal legend, but few of us
know about it .Personal legend is what you have always wanted to
accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their personal
legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and
everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for
everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives.
7. Be Testing All Things
Finally, you have one life to live.And it is not a good thing to
experiment with it. What will make life work? What will make my eternity
happy?God did not give you life to experiment with. He gave you life and
he gave you a Book. God has spoken. It is not a matter of
experimentation. It is a matter of application of God’s word to
everything.He knows all things. He knows what will make you happy in the
moment. He knows what will make your life count for the here and now. So
Know his word. Test all things.
As time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will
be impossible for them to realize their personal legend. It’s a force
that appears to be negative. It conists of books, our parents and our
Almost all the books in the world say that people are unable to choose
their own personal legends. They end up saying that everyone believes
the world’s greatest lie: at a certain point in our lives, we lose
control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by
Although we have developed a superstition that each time we open the
book we would learn something important, we should establish a
relationship with the environment because God couldn’t be found in the
seminary. Actually not every time we open the book it will be helpful.
Not each book is worth reading.
As for our parents, when we were children, they took good care of us
every day. We trusted them, we have forgotten how to rely on our own
instincts, because we need them for nourishment.
We lived together, we became a part of our parents’ lives. Then they
wanted us to change. if we were not what our parents wanted us to be,
our parents became angry .Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how
other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Our parents, they are the common people. They see the world in terms of
what they would like to see happen, not what actually does.
Parents would see their children marry bakers than the shepherds. Bakers
have homes, while shepherds sleep out in the open. In the long run, what
people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important for them
than their own personal legends.
They don’t like their children to take a risk. They consider their
children as their possessions. As a matter of fact, our children beyond
not belong to us. We just gave them lives. They belong to themselves.
Treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried by
the same currents. So both parents and teachers, especially those
parents, we could help our children to succeed, we also could be an
obstacle on their way to their dreams. Let’s give our children some
freedom and encouragement. It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s
evil, it’s what comes out of their mouth that it is.
Let them make their own decisions. Let them to be what they should to
be. We should to be the positive force. We should help each member in
your family to fulfill his or her dream. It’s your mission on earth.
Your constant criticism will destroy other’s confidence and creativity.
Love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend. If he
abandoned that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love, the love that
speaks the language of the world. We should be a real lover to our
children, our wife or our husband. Our love enables our children to
discover every treasure in the world.
There is one great truth in this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it
is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire
originated in the soul of the universe. To realize one’s destiny is a
person’s only real obligation. All things are one. When you want
something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. So
keep going to realize your dream. You are capable at any time in your
life of doing what you dream of.
The soul of the world is nourished by people’s happiness, and also by
unhappiness, envy and jealousy. Since everyone has their limits, no
matter he performs negative force or positive force, we won’t blame
Everything could teach our some useful things because everything on the
face of the earth has a soul, whether mineral, vegetables, or animals
-or even just a simple thought. We could learn more from the nature. If
we look at a flower deeply, we also see the world.
The histories of all people and other creatures are connected.
Unfortunately, you even don’t know that what you are doing could really
affect others. The most valuable thing that you can do for this world is
to follow your personal legend through to its conclusion.
Follow your heart. It knows all things because it came from the soul of
the world, and it will one day return there. Wherever your heart is,
that is where you will find your treasure.
In order to find your treasure, you have always to heed the omens. God
placed them along your path. The omens are the language used by God to
indicate what you should do.
When you have made a decision, don’t think about what you have left
behind. We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or,
our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we
understand that our life stories and the history of the world were
written by the same hand.
Also people need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving
what they need and want. The fear of suffering is worse than the
Life is the moment we are living right now. If you can concentrate
always on the present, you will be a happy man, life will be a party for
you, a grand festival. So when we are eating, that’s all we think about.
If we are on the March, we just concentrate on marching. We shouldn’t
live in neither our past nor our future. We should be interested only in
the present. The present is full of surprises. We have to be aware of
Anyway, making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone
makes a decision, he’s really diving into a strong current that will
carry him to places he has never dreamed of when he first made the
When you are on the pace of your dream, you might have to change your
way of life. Sometimes you ought to make risky bets. Taking your
chances can make your life exciting. If you don’t want to change
anything or you don’t know how to deal with change, your dream would
never turn into reality. It is our fear of failure that keeps us from
attempting our dream.
In fact, speak with wise men, follow the omens and keep going, and you
will be able to find your treasure. Everyone on earth has a treasure
that awaits them. It’s the simple things in life that are the most
extraordinary. God reveals his secrets easily to all his creatures.
It’s only those who are persistent and willing to study things deeply
who achieve their dreams.
The closer we get to the realization of our dream, the more difficult
things become. In our pursuit of the dream, we are subjected to tests
of our persistence and courage. So we could not be hasty, nor
impatient. If we pushed forward impulsivity, we would fail to see the
signs and omens left by God along our path. Before our dream is
realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along
the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in
addition to realize ourdreams, master the lessons we have learned. As we
have moved toward that dream, that’s the point at which most people give
up. Every search begins with beginners luck, and every search ends with
the victors being severely tested. An old proverb says “the darkest hour
of the night comes just before the dawn .” Our life challenges every
step and kills those who become distracted.
Don’t worry, there is nothing to hold you back except yourself. Although
you should make a lot of detours, you’re always heading for the same
destination. Let me tell you that no heart has ever suffered when it
goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a
second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
There is a language in the world that everyone understands. It is the
language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose,
and as part of a search for something believed in and desired .
The path to realize your dream will lead to a purification of
yourselves. The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels in this
world but never forget to pursue your personal legend.
Everyone can perform a miracle. Each of you can live a happy life. So,
come on! Your treasure is awaiting you!