Thursday, October 18, 2012
Piper and Passion How Christian Hedonism Rocked My World
"...all men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they emply, they all tend to this end...The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."---Blaise Pascal
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."---John Piper
Hedonism is in my mind the only logical world view apart from following Christ; “Let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” My father was never serious about his Judaism. Still he antagonized me for my decision to follow Christ. During one early conversation he asked me if it was just a phase. “Will you give it up once it wears off,” he asked. I assured him that if I ever gave up Christianity I would become a hedonist.
John Piper’s assertion that he was a Christian Hedonist got my attention. Convinced as I was that hedonism was the logical world view apart from Christ then what was a Christian Hedonist? Piper puts it this way, “Let us be crystal clear. We are always talking about joy in God, because the ultimate good that we always aim at is displaying the glory of God and expanding our own joy in God to others…..In God alone is fullness of joy and joy forever.” It’s a radical concept.
If I’m seeking joy then I must be selfish, right? Unless of course we are wired to seek joy. In which case it is the same old story. We seek joy in everything else but God. Yet if joy is found as we go deeper with God; deeper God and deeper joy, then it is a good thing. Understanding this changed my relationship with Christ.
That is the way I am wired. It is a heart versus flesh thing. My flesh wants joy in everything but God. My heart wants joy in God. That focus is incredible. The thought that joy can be experienced in God drives me toward Him. Sin looks bleak when deep joy is possible. I will do what I believe will bring me joy.
The Westminster Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The two are inextricably intermeshed. Seeking God’s glory brings joy. It’s a win-win.