Summary: Are Christians supposed to pursue pleasure? John Piper brings Scripture to light that would suggest so. Looking at several areas of life, from conversion to worship to marriage and even to suffering, John Piper explains how pursuing ultimate joy is fundamental for bringing glory to God.
Review: The dictionary defines hedonism as “the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good” and “devotion to pleasure as a way of life”. John Piper defines Christian hedonism in much the same way but with the focus being God. It’s basically summed up in the oft mentioned phrase “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” At first I was kind of leery because most of the time hedonism has negative connotations, as evidenced by the fact that two of the synonyms are “debauchery” and “carousal”. I have to say though, that having read the whole book, the idea makes sense. If we want the things God wants, then ultimately we’re living our lives in such a way that we’ll be eternally joyful. At least that’s how I kind of understood it.
My absolute favorite part of the book was in the chapter on suffering. Sounds terrible, right? John Piper includes a passage from Sergei Kourdakov’s autobiography (The Persecutor) about one young lady who changed his life. She was beaten multiple on multiple occasion at the hands of the Russian secret police because she was at Christian prayer meetings, until a fellow police comrade jumped in front of her to save her life. I can’t do the passage justice by describing it so I’ll leave you the page numbers in Desiring God (Revised Edition) rand let you read it. It’s on pages 275-278 and it’s quite powerful, at least it was for me.
I know I will be reading Desiring God again. There is so much to process that it’s going to take me at least one more reading to get it all.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.