Warning! Unless you are willing to leave all and follow Christ, don't read this book!
A seeming oxymoron, Christian Hedonism forms the basis for When I Don't Desire God. What is the meaning of Christian Hedonism? ďThe value of God shines brightly in the soul that finds deepest satisfaction in him.Ē* Peter the Apostle stated it thusly, "Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1.8, ESV)." With love for both his theme and his audience, John Piper goes step by step into the breadth and height of this subject. The study begins with the presentation of salvation, as an awakening of a new taste for God in a Christian who then must fight the good fight of faith, questing for the Lord of all joy. With his readers driven to their knees, Piper joins hands with noted Christians from the past, embeds everything with the Old and New Testament, and opens fresh insights into sanctification, abandoning self, and awakening to the fact that Jesus Christ is the well spring of our very beings.
When salvations, joy, even the will to fight, are all gifts from God, how do we fight for joy against our own sinful lack of desire? Further chapters of When I Don't Desire God, look intensely into the how of this: see and hear spiritually, indeed, involve all your senses spiritually; accept your guilt and, turning it over to the Lord, receive the joy; involve all of your life, loving, eating, reading, painting, laughing, crying, because they are all gifts from God; pray, read the word, meditate, memorize, letting all these be indispensable to your everyday living; wait on God, even when it is dark; above all else, remember that only in belonging to and desiring God, can we achieve the joys we were created for, and give the honor and glory to God that are His.
Prolific author, teacher, pastor, radio personality, father, and grandfather, John Piper (you have to delve through the Internet to find out he is a Doctor of Theology) brings years of experience, study, and personal discipline from the Lord to this study into the "passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ."** Personally, I found this book one of the most devastating, yet wonderfully helpful books I've read in years. Piper has a facility for presenting deep, important ideas understandably. He empathizes with us common people, applying Biblical ideas directly to our personal spaces. One of the extra values found in When I Don't Desire God are the word explanations, ranging from justification to joy, cheap grace to fight the good fight. The person index lists all the quotes, making it a useful reference tool for this book, and for other studies. Other indices provide further enhancement.
I recommend this book for all Christians, youth and adult, who, for whatever reason, desire to draw closer to Jesus. Ė Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
*When I Don't Desire God, pg. 13
**Ibid., pg. 254
For over twenty-five years John Piper has trumpeted the truth that ďGod is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.Ē He calls it Christian Hedonism. The problem is that many people, after being persuaded, find that this truth is both liberating and devastating.
Itís liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And itís devastating because it reveals that we donít desire God the way we should. What do you do when you discover the good news that God wants you to be content in him, but then find that you arenít?
If joy in God were merely the icing on the cake of Christian commitment, this book would be insignificant. But Piper argues that joy is so much more. Our being satisfied in God is necessary to show Godís worthiness and to sustain sacrifices of love.
Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. He tasted it. It sustained him through the deepest suffering. His Father was glorified. His people were saved. That is what joy in God does.
The absolutely urgent question becomes: What can I do if I donít have it? With a pastorís heart and with radical passion for the glory of Christ, John Piper helps you answer that question.