Earlier this week I received a random yet wonderful gift. Someone sent me For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper. The writings and sermons of John Piper have greatly influenced my spiritual life and ministry, so I was especially excited for the initial biographical essays.

Last night, I sat down to read and even though it was getting late, I could not put the book down. The chance to take a look behind the books and sermons and into the life of John Piper was more exciting than sleep at that moment. And one thing stood out of his character more than anything else: he loves Jesus. One of his associate pastors describes him as a man “with Christ at his core as the glad and glorious ‘blazing center.'” His personal assistant says, “The greatest single benefit from working with John the last four years is that I love Jesus more.”

This characteristic passion and love for God not only characterizes John Piper, but every truly good pastor I know. When I think of my current pastor (Mike Fabarez), my former pastors (John MacArthur and Rick Holland), my sermon preparation teacher (Scott Ardavanis), or my father, I think of men who are not just driven by discipline but compelled by a passion for God.

If I want to be a successful minister of the gospel, and if you want to be a vibrant growing Christian, one thing is essential. We must simply have a blazing love and passion for Jesus Christ.