Pursuing joy in God

By Dave Henning / March 8, 2013

Pastor John Piper begins Chapter 1 of When I Don’t Desire God by introducing and defining the concept of Christian Hedonism, which forms the foundation of the book.  Webster’s New World Dictionary defines hedonism from a secular perspective: “the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure as a way of life.”  Christian Hedonism, in contrast, trumpets the truth that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”  Thus our quest for joy and our duty to glorify God don’t conflict- they are one.

On the other hand, indifference to pursuing joy in God is tantamount to indifference to God’s glory which, the author reminds us, is sin.  Indeed, our sinful nature opposes and perverts our pursuit of God.  It opposes God by making other things look more desirable and perverts by deluding us into thinking we’re pursuing God when in reality we’re in love with His gifts.

Augustine beautifully captured this distinction in Confessions:

“I am astonished that although I now loved you . . . I did not persist in enjoyment of my God.  Your beauty drew me to you, but soon I was dragged away from you by my own weight and in dismay I plunged again into the things of this world . . . as though I had sensed the fragrance of the fare but was not yet able to eat it.”

Note:  The annotation of God is Closer Than You Think will post on Monday.




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Dave Henning

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