Thursday, January 24, 2008

Desiring God, Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

Apart from the Bible, no other book has even come close to having the intense impact upon my life than this dear book entitled Desiring God. John Piper has had a tremendous effect upon countless worshippers of Jesus Christ, and I find myself in the midst of this greatly effected group. I can honestly say that, apart from the Bible, this is my very favorite book.

The magnificence of God echoes throughout the pages of this book which is saturated in Scripture. A brief look at the Scripture index at the end of this book will highlight the Scripture saturation of both this book and it’s author. The appendixes of this book are a great benefit as well.

I recently posted about Rich Mullins and delighting in the impact that one can have upon somebody without even knowing them. John Piper belongs solidly in this category as well.

Many have struggled with the subtitle to Desiring God, “Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.” Considering the baggage that the word hedonism drags along with it, this is understandable, however, the baggage of the word hedonism is simply not what Piper is referring to.

Pronunciation [heed-n-iz uhm] –noun
1) the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.
2) devotion to pleasure as a way of life: The later Roman emperors were notorious for their hedonism.

Piper uses this word “hedonism” to highlight the very often overlooked premise that God is infinitely glorious and so He is infinitely satisfying. Christian hedonism is simply having God as the most pleasurable, enjoyable, and desirable entity in your life. I believe the word hedonism is here well chosen and aptly used. To the human heart which is divinely designed to have an unquenchable hunger to be satisfied - this is exceedingly good news. C.S. Lewis said it best, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

This book helped me to see these powerful truths. It was essential in helping me to see that I am an idol worshipper. Not the little wooden animal shaped idols, but the idols non-the-less, and especially the idol of self. The very 1st commandment was, “You shall have no other gods before me.” For me to have myself at the center of my affections rather than God is nothing less than idolatry. The most effective weapon in the war on idolatry is to drink deeply from the Fountain of Living Waters (Jer. 2:11-13) and be so satisfied in Him that your heart no longer desires the broken cisterns of this temporal world.

I find it interesting that one can so often heartily thank God for a person that one has never even met. I consider John Piper to be a gift from God to His church. I feel the same way about the book Desiring God.

Check out some of the reviews of this book at

If you would prefer to listen to audio as opposed to reading, then there is a sermon series which covers the same basic information. I would still highly recommend the book as a life changing resource.

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