By: Jonathan Harris
John Piper has had a big impact on my life through his books Don't Waste Your Life, and most recently, When I Don't Desire God. The main premise of just about every Piper book is that "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." Piper maintains that it is a command to have joy.
David said in Psalm 16:11 states, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8, Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The term for this philosophy of life in which we "do all for the glory of God" with the "joy of the Lord" is entitled "Christian Hedonism" by Piper. Most of you may know what a hedonist is: Someone who's motivation in life is the maximum amount of satisfaction. Hedonism itself is blatantly anti-Christian, however "Christian Hedonism" pursues maximum satisfaction in the person of God. See the difference? I would highly recommend reading Piper if this concept at all has you curious. There is a way to live with complete joy. It's the same way Paul, David, and the writer of Hebrews lived.
The book, Don't Waste Your Life is excellent for use in a small group setting, especially with college students or youth group. It challenges adolescents to think about the direction of their life, and how the ultimate joy in life will only come through Christ, not the world. The American dream is heavily criticized, and so is the secular/sacred distinction that we so oftentimes make. The common philosophy of the Western world, existentialism, is shown to be empty, and Christian young people are challenged to make resolutions for their lives at an early age. This is truly a must read for anyone entering college!
When I Don't Desire God is made for the spiritually depressed. The man or woman who knows they must seek after God with all their heart, and do it with a joyful attitude, yet doesn't know where to start or can't seem to figure out why they don't have joy. Piper introduces the believer to many different weapons and impresses on the reader's heart that life is a battle for joy, not a cake-walk. In the last chapter, When the Darkness Does Not Lift, Piper offers some of the deepest encouragement for the emotionally disturbed and the person who doubts their own salvation. If you know you want joy, but can't seem to "enter in" to it, this book was written by a godly man who's experienced the same things, and has your best interest in mind.
Both books are Biblical and practical. Use them to supplement your devotional time, use them in a group study, use them throughout the course of your life. Order your copy today! Simply click the icons above or the links below.
Don't Waste Your Life
When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For Joy