2021 Family Camp’s Morning Devotion – To Enjoy God Forever
Dear BPCWA worshipper, We continue this week with the final message on enjoying God. I hope that as we read through this, it will help us to reconsider our relationship with God. We may sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”, but is the relationship and communion with Him something that we truly desire deep in our hearts? Are we ready to forgo communion and closeness with God for the trivial things and the pet sins that so often captivate our hearts?
Is “Christian hedonism” enjoying God? The undeniable answer is simple and a resounding NO. Christian hedonism is about seeking pleasure, not God, as the chief end of man. Why? “Hedonism” simply means “the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence. The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life”. “Christian Hedonism” is a term coined by John Piper and his definition of it in his website (deceptively called “desiring God” though what it really teaches is to desire pleasure) and books state, “Christian Hedonism is the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Therefore, if we are going to glorify God as we ought, the pursuit of joy is not optional — it is essential. We not only may, but ought to pursue our maximum pleasure — in God”. Just throwing in words like “Christian” and “glorify God” does not make it a “truth” of God.
Piper’s Christian Hedonism wants you to pursue pleasure, not God. Piper’s ministry website states, “Christian Hedonism claims that the Christian life should be the pursuit of maximum joy in God — joy both in quality and quantity.” Notice carefully that Piper is teaching the pursuit of maximum joy in God, not the pursuit of God. The error is ultimately that God exists to give you maximum pleasure. So, what is being pursued in Christian Hedonism? Pleasure, not God! Piper wants Christians to pursue God for the purpose of getting pleasure for themselves. Biblically, Christians are to enjoy pursuing God, not pursue pleasure through God. In Piper’s article, “We want you to be a Christian Hedonist” states without hesitation, “We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might . . .” This is contrary to Scripture. The only pursuit the Bible tells us to do “with all our might” is to love God, not pleasure, with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength!
Christian Hedonism promotes personal happiness, not the glory of God, as the motive for good deeds. Piper insists that, “ . . . The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy, you cannot love man or please God”. Christian Hedonism is blatantly contrary to the biblical Christian motive for service. Instead, Scriptures teach us to be careful of our motives, warning that “every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor 3:13). “Of what sort it is” refers to whether it is the sort done for self-motives or for God’s glory. Scripture teaches us that the Christian’s highest motive of pursuing God must be because of Who He is, not what He can give us (Ps 27:4). Any other motive, especially that for self-benefit, is wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor 3:11-14).
Christian Hedonism teaches that God is not pleased if you don’t ask Him for rewards. Piper unbiblically, unashamedly, and appallingly twists Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” to mean that “You cannot please God if you do not come to him looking for reward.” So, Christian Hedonism is not about enjoying glorifying God but enjoying receiving pleasure and rewards from God. Piper may seem “conservative”, but his teaching is just promoting the same Health and Wealth gospel which the Charismatics promote.
What are some areas I must develop enjoying God in? The Christian must develop a real personal relationship with God in which he enjoys pursuing God to glorify Him. There are daily possibilities in our quiet time in our Bible reading and prayer to do so. Quiet time is not just a tick in the box, a daily duty to be dispensed with. Instead, it is a time to know God and see Him for Who He is and what delights Him, not just to seek guidance and blessings from Him. Prayer is communion and fellowship with God, not merely a time of asking for things from Him. We enjoy talking to our loved ones – but how do we view our prayer closet? Do these daily opportunities for fellowship with Him delight your soul or is it that you can’t wait to finish reading that chapter of the Bible so that you can get going with your life? Have you experienced that enjoyment in knowing God to obey and delight Him? Are His commandments onerous and burdensome to you, when you actually prefer following what you lust after and want to do? If so, then you are behaving like the unbeliever who thinks of the Lord as “an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed” (Matt 25:24). The Holy Communion is one of the most blessed times of communion with God. It is a time that God has set aside that we can contemplate in deep gratefulness to Christ and joyfully consecrate ourselves in love and devotion to God by Him. Do you wish you had more time for such a reflection and recommitment to Him? Certainly, one who enjoys God will delight in the entire Lord’s Day instead of finding our own pleasure (Is 58:13). God set apart this day to help us grow in the delight of knowing and serving Him for the whole day! It is not about seeking your own pleasures once worship is over because you look forward to that family time or “me time”. This is a key test of our enjoyment in glorifying Him. Christian Hedonism tells us that as long as it is a Christian thing, we can pursue it with all our might. But God tells us to pursue His will, because it is God that we have put our delight in. God’s specific will for you may be different from another Christian, and it may not be what you had envisioned and hoped for your whole life through. But even when it is so, let us enjoy glorifying God through joyful acceptance of His will. We can do this by living the life that He has ordained for us in our personal lives, in our jobs, in our families, in our schools, and wherever He has chosen to put us in. Being discontent, murmuring, and pulling a long face is the opposite of enjoying God in doing His will.
So, man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever means man’s chief end is to glorify God and his chief pleasure is found in glorifying God! Having understood what enjoying God means, let us put all our soul’s effort in delighting in Him, in His Word, in prayer, in obeying His precepts, in Holy Communion, in spending the Lord’s Day in things that delight Him, and in living the life He has ordained for us.
Ps 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Yours in our Lord’s service,