Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Desiring God

Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize his net pleasure. John Piper, as a Christian Hedonist, argues that finding joy in knowing God is the ultimate pleasure that is not only an option, but a biblically-based commandment. We are to “Delight [ourselves] in the Lord” and find joy in all aspects of the Christian life – worship, love, service, scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and even suffering. There is nothing wrong with finding pleasure in these things; in fact, joy is what God requires from us. He doesn’t want us to do those things out of duty only. We are to be filled with excitement and delight when we do them. One example that Piper uses that I really liked was the analogy of a wedding anniversary. Suppose on this special day, a husband brings home his wife a dozen long-stemmed roses. The wife says, “O Johnny, they’re beautiful. Thank you!” and gives her husband a hug. If the and then holds up his hand and says matter of factly, “It’s my duty,” something is lost. If there’s no heart in it, we fail to honor those we dutifully serve. Piper does a wonderful job of showing that his ideas are biblically based. Almost every single page quotes a Scripture, which I really love.

The fact that this book has been published four different times and is celebrating its 25th anniversary is a testament to its credibility and widespread impact. That being said, while I really like the idea behind the book and feel that applying its truth could be life-changing, I really didn’t enjoy reading it. I typically get through a book of this size in two nights, but this one took me three weeks to finish – and only because I forced myself. I didn’t once find myself “desiring” to read the book. Perhaps because Piper covered the topics so indepth, or because he repeated himself a lot, or because the many footnotes made it confusing to read, I did not find this book enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

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