Friday, March 18, 2005

Being a Christian Hedonist

On beautiful spring days like these, it's easy to enjoy God....I'm so much more alert to creation...I actually get outside IN it....my mood is happy, expectant, almost giddy with the coming of warmer days...

Some have suggested that it's selfish and self-centered to be so pleased by God...that we are to please HIM, not the other way around....Is that what God wants? A work horse to put their head down and get it done? Or does he desire me to sit in the backyard, lay in the grass, be giddy with the excitement of Spring and all He's created?

John Piper wrote this great book called "Desiring God". When I read it a few years back it was the first time I had heard the term "Christian Hedonist", but it made so much sense!! God wants us to delight in Him...to be giddy about Him....to have our breath taken away by Him...Some people think this sounds like we're taking God for granted...like the hippy who just says "God is love" and that's the end of it. That's not what I mean. It's taking the view that the Christian life is not about doing or saying the things that will make God happy in order to bring glory to Him. John Piper's premise is this, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." He is not glorified by us doing things just because we think it'll make Him happy...Piper describes it like a husband going to his wife on their anniversary and saying, "I got you these beautiful flowers because that is my job as a husband on this special day." How unromantic is that?! In the same way, how does God feel when we approach him out of "duty"? Instead, I think God loves those times when we sing in the shower to Him...loudly....when I dance around the kitchen with my kids.....when I lay in the backyard and think about how beautiful the Spring is.....

In my bible study this morning Beth Moore compiles some other thoughts on the subject....

"God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those who see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it." - Jonathan Edwards, 1755

"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." -CS Lewis

So is it wrong to enjoy life, enjoy playing with my girls in the backyard, enjoy singing loudly or eating good food? I think God LOVES it when I recognize that all those good gifts come from Him....

1 comment:

Drew Hibbard said...

Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 says:

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, becuase God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

God does give us enjoyment in things that we are given, but we must also remember that even this enjoyment is from God. That happiness you feel when you play with your girls in the back yard is just as much a gift from God as the girls are, or as the back yard is. So, revel in the fact that EVERYTHING you have is from God.