Starting today, most Fridays I’ll post an excerpt from a recommended book. Today, one of my alltime favorites which was just republished in a 25th anniversary edition, Desiring God. It first introduced me to the ministry of John Piper. It’s not for light evening reading but a half hour with it will do for your heart what an hour in the gym will do for your body.
Who is it for? Spiritual pro or novice; whether you’ve already achieved heady heights in your sanctification, or if people wonder if you’re really saved. The book’s not so much for those who are something, but those who crave something: being happy in God. Though many serve God, fewer find delight in Him. They are like marines who dutifully soldier on despite finding their work tedious, dangerous, and unsatisfying.
The subtitle Meditations of a Christian Hedonist stirred controversy when the book came out in 1986 because a hedonist is a pleasure junkie who is derided by all but other hedonists. But it would have been hard for Piper’s point to be better made: following Jesus was never meant to be dreary duty, but delirious delight. It’s not a job, it’s a joy–at least for those who have been trained by God. Since hedonism is the single-eyed devotion to indulging in one’s pleasure, finding pleasure in God can rightfully be called Christian hedonism.
…Christian Hedonism as I use the term does not mean God becomes a means to help us get world pleasures. The pleasure Christian Hedonism seeks is the pleasure which is God Himself. He is the end of our search, not the means to some further end.
On marriage: The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses. The biblical mandate to husbands and wives is to seek your own joy in the joy of your spouse. Make marriage a matrix for Christian Hedonism.