Quit Denying Joy
John Piper is famous for saying, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”Christian hedonism, it’s called. The more we delight and enjoy in God, the more God is glorified and we are joyful.
For most of us, this seems easier said than done.
A lot of us Christians hold to the idea that we should not be purposefully seeking joy in our life. That, in all ways, the Christian life is supposed a hard one, and to deny that is to deny the faith. We cling to the notion that our treasures and joy are stored up in Heaven, but until then, God is telling us to have “fun” living a dull, meaningless, joyless, hard life.
I think this is total garbage.
Yes, the Christian life filled with hardship. Yes, we are called to a life of denial. But are we called to a life without joy? Absolutely not.
Just because we seek after and desire joy – and an abundance of it – does not mean joy is wrong. It just depends where the source of that joy comes from. If our joy comes from God, and in aligning our rhythm of life to the beat of God’s drum, then let the joy come!
There’s nothing more joyful than being confident in your right standing with God through Christ, knowing that you are living a life intentionally laid out for you.
Joy from God transcends life – terrible jobs, small bank accounts, broken relationships. Unfortunantely, most of us don’t get that.
Instead, we secretly think that the purpose of a Christian’s life is to please a sadistically tyrannical God through persevering in life’s obstacles, hardships, and whatever else the big bully in the sky will throw at you. We believe life is simply a test to see who can outlast who by pleasing an attention-starved God.
Church becomes a chore. Christian fellowship becomes awkward. Prayer because insincere. All because we feel our purpose is to give God what he wants – attention.
But here’s the problem with that: God is not attention-starved and hasn’t been for all eternity, neither will he ever be.
He has all the community and relationship he needs within himself as a triune being – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Your relationship with God is not something that can permenantly break simply because you mess up. He doesn’t need a relationship with you – but he desires nothing less.
Why? Because when we have a relationship with God, we incline our life towards him. And when we incline our life towards him, we glorify him.
So, why do we assume that God is a being who needs to be pleased? He doesn’t. He needs to be glorified. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
If we want to please God, and we want to glorify God, then we need to start by satisfying ourselves in him. The Psalmist who wrote Ps 37 knew this very well, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (37:4).”
There isn’t a single verse in all of scripture – not a single one – that condemns us for wanting to have joy in our lives. Meloncholy was not the way we were designed to live.
Start delighting in him. In prayer, wrestle and argue with him over issues. Dive into his word to hear back. Earnestly pray to discover his will in your life even in the little things. Lean on him for everything.
The more we delight in him, the more he is glorified. The more we understand his will for our lives, the more joy we have.
Quit denying joy in life by trying to serve a caricature of God. Stop looking for it in the wrong places.
Delight in God.