Desiring God Review
I am frankly in two minds about John Piper. I have written an article where I have used a debate that John was involved in as an example of graceful disagreement. On the other hand, I find John almost too much of an idealist. I am wary of him because I have seen first hand what happened to somebody who got very deep into his works. It wasn’t pretty. Desiring God however is a very good read if you approach it with caution.
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
Author: John Piper
First Take: Pretty overwhelming read
When did I read it? Mid 2018
The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. It is not simply a way to “enhance” your walk with the Lord. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your “faith” cannot please God. It is not saving faith. Saving faith is the confidence that if you sell all you have and forsake all sinful pleasures, the hidden treasure of holy joy will satisfy your deepest desires. Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable, but also that He is desirable. It is the confidence that He will come through with His promises and that what He promises is more to be desired than all the world.John Piper
This book is not revolutionary. There are some who may dispute this but much of what John says in this book builds on church philosophy and some outstanding writers such as CS Lewis.
I am sure the term “christian hedonism” will turn some off reading this book, but I have to say, it is probably the best term for we who seek joy in our Lord. Here is John’s explanation of this:
Christian Hedonism is a philosophy of life built on the following five convictions: The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful. We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God. The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love. To the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: The pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. That is: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.John Piper
John Piper’s key phrase is this:
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.John Piper
Saturated in God
True happiness comes from being saturated in God and Christ, which is the result of desiring God. The purpose of man as God’s creation is to spend eternity in delight in God. John Piper takes this basic concept and spends most of the book expanding it in new ways.
One of my favourite quotes from this book is:
I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God.John Piper
A famous cigarette billboard pictures a curly-headed, bronze-faced, muscular macho with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth. The sign reads ‘Where a man belongs.’ That is a lie. Where a man belongs is at the bedside of his children, leading in devotion and prayer…. a man belongs … leading his family to the house of God. Where a man belongs is up early and alone with God seeking vision and direction for the family.John Piper
And one last awe inspiring quote:
Worship is the highest moral act a human can perform, so the only basis and motivation for it that many people can conceive is the notion of morality as the disinterested performance of duty. But when worship is reduced to disinterested duty, it ceases to be worship. For worship is a feast.John Piper