-- John Piper, Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah, 2001. 91 pages.
Is it our duty to delight in God? This little book pulses with the idea that we must rejoice in God in order to please Him. Our fault is not in seeking our own joy, Piper asserts, but in seeking it in the wrong places. We have been too easily pleased by the cornhusks of the world, when we should have given our whole hearts to the pursuit of God Himself.
Over and over, Piper shows from Scripture that we are commanded to rejoice, be glad, and delight in the Lord. Can the Lord command something as “feeling-based” as delight? According to Piper, the Lord can and does command this, standing ready Himself to provide the delight when we seek it from Him. The book’s subtitle reads, “The Glorified God and the Satisfied Soul.”
“Is it right to seek God for our own pleasure?” some people ask. “Shouldn’t we rather seek to obey Him?” Piper responds, “…joy is an act of obedience.” We fulfill our Creator’s purpose for us when we glorify Him, and we glorify Him most when we take pure delight in all that He is and does. From this delight flows true worship and glad service to Him and others. That service is empty of pride or self-pity, because it is truly our pleasure to do it for Him.
The book has nine primary chapters dealing with subjects such as marriage, money, missions and worship. It is said to be a condensed version of Desiring God (1996); however, when I compared the worship chapter of the 2003 revision of Desiring God with the worship chapter of this book under review, there was almost no overlap. In other words, read it all!
The chapter about worship and “Christian Hedonism” packs a big punch for six pages. “Worship is the most hedonistic affair of life …. The great hindrance to worship is not that we are a pleasure-seeking people, but that we are willing to settle for such pitiful pleasures.”
Piper suggests three implications of “Christian Hedonism” for corporate worship:
People ought to come to get, they ought to come starved and thirsty for God.
God is at the center of worship and not, for instance, the quality of our music performance.
The essence of worship is satisfaction and pleasure in God, and it is an end in itself and to nothing else.
This little book fits easily in purse or pocket, but its ideas are deeper than the sea and brighter than the sun. It is worth the price just for the Scriptures and other quotes included about delighting in the Lord. You’ll benefit from reading it many times.
Being satisfied in God can mean forsaking lesser pleasures, and it can be
costly (cf. Romans 8:17-18).
“Infinite delight [in God] is a dangerous duty. But you will not regret the pursuit.”
--reviewed by Paul & Linda Neeley
Published in Vol.2, No.2 of