I am a big John Piper fan but have only recently gotten around to reading his book Desiring God – Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. In this book Pastor Piper delivers a compelling argument that our lives as Christians are to be lived chasing satisfaction, joy with reckless abandonment so long as the pursuit of those things find their purpose in God and ultimately glorify Him.
The theme throughout this book that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” God gets the glory and we get the joy. Such a powerful thought. That thought alone is worth the price of the book. This truth is so fundamental. As a pastor I see so much dysfunction in people trying to be happy rather than finding their joy in God. I find myself so often allowing my service to Christ and others to be what it was never intended to be. I am created to glorify God not through depriving myself of happiness but in finding my happiness in Christ.
CS Lewis explains this concept so beautifully “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Every chapter had a few points that really rang true. The chapters that challenged me most personally were Money, Missions and Suffering. I plan on adding this book to a short list of books I reread.
Desiring God should be read by every christian at least once in their lives because of the truth Piper pulls from scripture are so precisely accurate and so horribly convicting.
Here are a few quotes that stood out to me.
In the New Testament, God is clearly active, creating a people for Himself by calling them out of darkness and enabling them to believe the gospel and walk in the light. John teaches most clearly that regeneration precedes and enables faith.
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional
Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable but also that He is desirable.
True worship must include inward feelings that reflect the worth of God’s glory. If this were not so, the word hypocrite would have no meaning.
The great hindrance to worship is not that we are a pleasure-seeking people, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures.
Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others.
Faith is born and sustained by the Word of God, and out of faith grows the flower of joy.
A failure in our prayer life is generally a failure to know Jesus.
Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence.
The great danger of riches is that our affections will be carried away from God to His gifts.
Generosity confirms that our hope is in God, not in ourselves or our money.
My assumption is that people without the gospel are without hope, because only the gospel can free them from their sin.
Suffering of sickness and suffering of persecution have this in common: They are both intended by Satan for the destruction of our faith and governed by God for the purifying of our faith.
How many Christians do you know who could say, “The lifestyle I have chosen as a Christian would be utterly foolish and pitiable if there is no resurrection”?
God’s universal purpose for all Christian Suffering: more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.
Paul’s suffering complex Christ’s afflictions not by adding anything to their worth, but by extending them to the people they were meant to save.
In the pursuit of joy through suffering, we magnify the all-satisfying worth of the Source of our joy. God Himself shines as the brightness at the end of our tunnel of pain. If we do not communicate that He is the goal and the ground of our joy in suffering, then the very meaning of our suffering will be lost. The meaning is this: God is gain. God is gain. God is gain.
*I was provided a free copy of Desiring God by Multnomah press in exchange for my willingness to write an honest and personal review of the book.