Thursday, July 3, 2008

When I Don't Desire God

It's been a while since I've read Desiring God, the book that really put John Piper at the top of my favorite authors' list. His declaration that Christians should be hedonists, though foreign, was an enlightening idea for me. The summary sentence, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him", has truly become an attitude I try to fashion my life toward. Desiring God showed how we should seek Christ as the ultimate treasure and treat Him as such. When I Don't Desire God seems more like an instructional sequel. The first assumed that we desire God, the second shows us what to do when we don't.

You really can't go wrong with any Piper book. The man is truly a man after God's own heart and my favorite thing about Piper, what really attracts me to his writing, is that I see how he desires to desire God. We tend to get caught up in obedience and knowing God just intellectually, which can easily turn into drudgery unless we seek a true and loving relationship with God. Piper has shown me that yes I should obey God and yes I should learn about Him, but all in an effort, an end to know Him, to love Him, to desire Him.

Piper drastically changed many assumptions I had before reading this book. The most important and relevant was my assumption that not only is joy an emotion, but it's something that we either have or don't. I mean, some people are predisposed to being happier than others. Some people are easily depressed, others are easily joyful. But what I realized is that joy in God was not an option, not a decision based on people's predispositions. Rather, it was a command! And when we don't desire God, it is breaking His command, sin! Obviously I was taken quite aback, baffled even. God is constantly commanding that we "rejoice always", that we "count it all joy", that we "rejoice with joy". These aren't mere suggestions, their commandments and Piper calls us to take it just as seriously as we take following any other command. After making that point as strong as possible, Piper then lists weapons, such as prayer and the Word, and strategies to assist in our fight for joy.

I have been persuaded that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. It should be a Christian's desire to love and desire God more than any other. Donald Miller, another favorite, says it this way: "...if God is a perfect and loving Being, the most selfless thing He could do would be to create other beings to enjoy Him. And then I started thinking that if those creatures fell away from Him, the most selfless thing a perfect and loving Being could do would be to go and get them, to try to save them from the death that would take place in His absence." The most selfless act we can do when we get a gift we love is to share it with others.
Christ is the ultimate treasure. God, being selfless, created humans to enjoy Himself. What a love! When I Don't Desire God is a wonderful read that truly inspires us to forsake mere knowledge of God and rather seek wholeheartedly a loving relationship with our Father and Lord.

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