Rereading Classic Books
Last night, while re-reading for the fourth time, John Piper’s Desiring God, I was reminded why I am a “Christian Hedonist.” Buy the book and read it slowly.
Back in college when I first came to trust in Christ, when I first starting reading the Bible regularly (hours a day at times), and became entranced with the teachings of Christ, I remember the seed of what John Piper has termed “Christian Hedonism” and how it began to take root in my soul. I remember a paper I wrote for a Philosophy class on why men (mankind) do what they do. What is it that drives their motivations?
I wrote that all men do what they do, even the corrupt and evil things they do because they think that that thing is what is going to give them happiness. We are misguided but the thing we want, happiness, is a good thing, a moral thing.
Then I read C.S. Lewis and his book Reflections on the Psalms, (similar to Piper), and his discussion of why praise of God and the command to praise God, is not God on an ego trip but God inviting us to deeper happiness and truer joys. Years later I would read Piper’s book Desiring God and there, with far more eloquence and depth of understanding than I had ever developed, Piper explicated and named the thing, CHRISITAN HEDONISM.
Last night, while re-reading Desiring God I came across 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. [My addition, “in a joyful embrace of obedience to an always good God.” (mps)]
- The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.
- To the extent 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
enjoying him forever.
I am a Christian Hedonist and I commend the philosophy to you.
I commend you to live for your greatest joy.
I commend you to live for the best and most flourishing of life.
I commend you to find all your joys in Him.
You will only be satisfied when you are most delighted in Him.
So delight yourself in Him and find yourself satisfied.