In NEHEMIAH 8.10 the people of God are exhorted to let the joy of the LORD be their strength. Are you doing this? Even if you are a professing Christian, and know the grace of God, is it your great satisfaction to enjoy and delight in the Lord?
So helpful to us in this regard are the writings of Pastor John Piper of Minneapolis, MN. His book DESIRING GOD (now in several editions and languages) is one of the most profound Christian writings of our generation. It presents the biblical call to delight in the Lord as “Christian hedonism” – usurping a well known term for ‘pleasure-seeking’ — and directing us to seek our greatest pleasures in the Lord our God.
He states the very purpose of human life in the following declaration: The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever. In his book Piper speaks of CHRISTIAN HEDONSIM as a philosophy of life built on the following:
• The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful.
• We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
• The deepest and most enduring happiness is found ONLY in GOD.
• The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.
• To the extent we try to abandon this pursuit, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: the pursuit of JOY in the LORD is a necessary part of all worship and virtue.
I hope you will ponder the call of Nehemiah 8.10 — and become a Christian hedonist!