The following post is the beginning of a project to read through the Book “Desiring God” by John Piper along with a dear Brother in Christ by the name of Tim Challies. I expressed to him my frustration with this book, as it is much deeper reading than anything I have read since college. It is not spiritual milk, it is spiritual meat. In fact, I have referred to it as a full-course meal, and it is a book that I would experience some difficulty navigating without a wingman.
Tim has set an example for me by offering to read it with me, so we can discuss some of the points of the book. At the present, I have only read the first few chapters, but I can already see that this is a book that can change a person’s life! The premise is simple:
The chief end of man is to glorify God
enjoying Him forever.
If you own this book, please read along. If you don’t own it, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy as the truths within the book will enrich your life and your sense of praise and worship!
Oh, and Tim… Thanks!
Why did you buy the books that are on your bookshelf? Is it from the recommendation of another? Does the bookstore display or the artwork on the cover catch your eye? Does the synopsis on the back of the book pique your curiosity? Is the title thought-provoking? Is the price right? When I picked up my copy of Desiring God by John Piper, all of these factors were in place. I had just chosen my new Bible and was walking toward the cash register, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw the book up on the shelf. The picture on the cover has changed from the earlier editions, but the title is the same. Thankfully, the message is the same as well, and based on conversations I have had with others (most effectively with a board member of my son’s school) I grabbed my copy while it was on sale and rushed to the front of the store!
Why do you read the books on your bookshelf? No, I’m not throwing curve-balls here. It’s a legitimate question. I know people who buy expensive hardcover books for the simple reason that they like the way these books look on their living-room shelf. Some of the books are read, but the dust jacket is usually removed to preserve the look when the book is returned. I purchase books because I want to read them, but I do find myself basing my zest for a book by judging the Preface quite often. If the Preface is bland, the book could return to the shelf for a later date.
A Preface should give the reader a few good reasons to read the book and should also be a primer for the book itself. In Desiring God, the primer is both of these and neither. John Piper takes the kid gloves off from the outset with Psalm 37:4.
This verse is both a promise to us and also a commandment to us. We are commanded to delight ourselves in the Lord, and in exchange He will give us the desires of our hearts. Does this mean that the Lord will give me a million dollars, a muscular physique, and a pony? Not at all! As we delight in the Lord, our priorities change, and the desire of our hearts becomes… Him! A win-win scenario becomes a snowballing cycle of joy!
Joy in the Lord is absolutely vital in the struggle to break the power of sin in our lives! (Nehemiah 8:10) As we find that our satisfaction in the Lord is superior to our satisfaction with worldly matters, we see that our tastes change. Sin begins to leave a bitter taste in the mouth and glorifying God begins to be a rich, sweet joy. As this cycle continues, our passion to be satisfied becomes God’s passion to be glorified! Or as John Piper puts it: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.