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Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Desiring God

I recently received a free copy of the revised addition of John Piper's most popular book, 'Desiring God' from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I have a personal history with this book. It was the very first book I read by Piper and the content com...
I recently received a free copy of the revised addition of John Piper's most popular book, 'Desiring God' from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I have a personal history with this book. It was the very first book I read by Piper and the content completely transformed my thinking about my relationship with God, His Word, and the way I approach Him. The concept "Christians Hedonist" did not initially settle with me (as I am sure was the case for many other readers). I had to wait until he finished the initial explanation which he does very well in the introduction. Several points that this book wishes to make are: 1. That God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him. 2. A "Christian Hedonist" is not someone who is living to satisfy and please themselves and just happens to be a Christian. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A "Christian Hedonist" seeks to glorify and delight God by finding their delight (and satisfaction) in Him [God]. 3. We are far too easily pleased.with trivial, earthly, half-hearted things.
You will find behind every word a heart convinced of the expressions that the words make. I remember, back in 2006, when I read this book for the first time being overwhelmed with my own joylessness and lack of satisfaction in the God who saved me, and the complete easy and conviction with which John Piper expressed his own journey to desire God. I am confident that a true believer will not be able to read this book without being effected toward a newly developed desire for God. One of the great things about the revision is the inclusion of a "study guide" that should be extremely helpful in small-group sessions. This aid would be great for book studies or even for personal reflection. The point of the book "Desiring God" is applied to many areas of the Christian's life. There are chapters attempting to apply this focus in our Conversation, Worship, Prayer, Money, Marriage, Suffering, and many other life situations. Finding God as the satisfaction in our management of all the areas mentioned in this book reminds us that God is in all and is over all.
I highly recommend this read for every Christian. It has been recommended reading in many of my pastoral counseling situations. It is easy to read,relevant,and absolutely captivating.

posted by ReformedScribe on February 11, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist is a classic b

Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist is a classic by well-known pastor and author John Piper.  In it Piper urges the reader to “glorify God by enjoying him forever.”  In fact, Piper repeatedly goes back to this phrase.  To glorify God through the enjoyment ...
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist is a classic by well-known pastor and author John Piper.  In it Piper urges the reader to “glorify God by enjoying him forever.”  In fact, Piper repeatedly goes back to this phrase.  To glorify God through the enjoyment of God is the reason humans exist.  To live for any other purpose than the enjoyment of God is to fall short of why humans are here, in Piper’s view.
            Piper’s presentation is thoroughly Biblical and his hermeneutic is supported by his own experience.  He doesn’t just share his exegesis.  He has lived this reality.  He found in his own life that true happiness comes only when he finds it in God.  Anything less than rejoicing in God falls short of true joy and pleasure.  Piper’s writing is passionate.  He believes what he is saying.  And really, I have very little problem with his conclusion.
            When I was in high school and involved in church youth group, I yearned to communicate how wonderful it is to be a Christian. I had a sense that people believed Christians should sacrifice the fun of partying (read illicit sex, alcohol, drugs).  Christians were missing out on that scene.  I protested that as a Christian I was not missing out on anything.  I was the one having fun and loving life because of God.  Remembering my own experience, I empathize with John Piper’s serendipitous joy at the thought of Christian hedonism.  I think he and I would be in complete agreement: the greatest joy a person can know is life in Christ.
            However, I would not recommend his book.  There are two reasons.  First, I don’t like the metaphor.  Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure.  Piper’s point is that we should pursue pleasure – pleasure in God.  This may sound as if I am picking at semantics, but I always associate the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake as Satanic.  When I think “Hedonism,” I think “Satan.”  I could never put ‘Christian’ and ‘Hedonism’ together.
            I prefer Rick Warren’s model of “purpose-driven” living.  I want pleasure, but I think God can provide it better than I can imagine it.  No doubt, Piper would agree.  But, he says pleasure is why we glorify God.  We pursue pleasure by glorifying God.  I disagree.  We glorify God through service and worship and love (of neighbor) and prayer and obedience.  In all these ways, we exalt God.  In the process, we discover pleasure and joy.  Piper has human beings pursuing pleasure.  I prefer the idea of pursuing God’s will and submitting myself to God’s authority.  Along the way, God gives more pleasure than I would find if I were seeking it.
            Piper would take my last statement and say it ultimately means I was deep down seeking pleasure all along.  I would retort that no, I was seeking God, not knowing when pleasure would come.  At times in my own walk, I did not know if pleasure would come.  I was just sure that life is in Christ. 
            My first reason for giving an unfavorable review is his metaphor – Christian Hedonism.  I was never convinced in its effectiveness throughout the book.  I will never frame my description of Christianity in that way.
            My second reason for not finding the book appealing is the legalistic tone Piper sets in chapter 1.  This tone dissipates as the book progresses, but from the outset, he is commanding joy and commanding how and where joy is to be found.  And he has valid scriptural support.  But I think those passages are directed to a believing community in the context of worship.  To command a nonbeliever to be joyful would be unintelligible to that nonbeliever.  The command only makes sense after I am aware of the reality not just that God exists, but also that God is all-loving and all-powerful.  Knowing those two realities, I understand that I find my joy in God.
            But, it hits me the wrong way when Piper is telling me I “must” delight in God.  Let me discover that.  Don’t cram it down my throat.  Again, I don’t think I necessarily disagree with what John Piper writes.  I think it is mostly on target.  I am greatly turned off by how he writes it.  I don’t want to be told, ‘be joyful.’  I want to be invited into worship and into the Word.  Invite me.  Let me feel like I have the freedom to choose this.  Then, because God is God, I will discover the joy that Piper is commanding me to feel and express.  Because he mandates this joy, I almost don’t want it.




            Thus, I recommend readers pass on Desiring God.  There are much better books that will draw one to the Lord’s heart.  Perhaps my negative review is related to the lenses through which I see the world.  I have family members whose faith was restored after reading Piper’s book.  They would surely be unhappy with my review.  All I can offer is my own response.  As I read this, I kept seeking connection points and I found some, especially in chapter 10.  Even so, when I finished the book, I was glad to be done, but not glad for having read it.  Due to the poor metaphor choice and the pushy tone, I advise readers against reading Desiring God.




Disclaimer - I received this book for free from WaterBrookMultnomah Publishing Group for this review.

posted by robtennant on December 13, 2013

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  • Posted December 13, 2013

    Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist is a classic b

    Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist is a classic by well-known pastor and author John Piper.  In it Piper urges the reader to “glorify God by enjoying him forever.”  In fact, Piper repeatedly goes back to this phrase.  To glorify God through the enjoyment of God is the reason humans exist.  To live for any other purpose than the enjoyment of God is to fall short of why humans are here, in Piper’s view.
                Piper’s presentation is thoroughly Biblical and his hermeneutic is supported by his own experience.  He doesn’t just share his exegesis.  He has lived this reality.  He found in his own life that true happiness comes only when he finds it in God.  Anything less than rejoicing in God falls short of true joy and pleasure.  Piper’s writing is passionate.  He believes what he is saying.  And really, I have very little problem with his conclusion.
                When I was in high school and involved in church youth group, I yearned to communicate how wonderful it is to be a Christian. I had a sense that people believed Christians should sacrifice the fun of partying (read illicit sex, alcohol, drugs).  Christians were missing out on that scene.  I protested that as a Christian I was not missing out on anything.  I was the one having fun and loving life because of God.  Remembering my own experience, I empathize with John Piper’s serendipitous joy at the thought of Christian hedonism.  I think he and I would be in complete agreement: the greatest joy a person can know is life in Christ.
                However, I would not recommend his book.  There are two reasons.  First, I don’t like the metaphor.  Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure.  Piper’s point is that we should pursue pleasure – pleasure in God.  This may sound as if I am picking at semantics, but I always associate the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s sake as Satanic.  When I think “Hedonism,” I think “Satan.”  I could never put ‘Christian’ and ‘Hedonism’ together.
                I prefer Rick Warren’s model of “purpose-driven” living.  I want pleasure, but I think God can provide it better than I can imagine it.  No doubt, Piper would agree.  But, he says pleasure is why we glorify God.  We pursue pleasure by glorifying God.  I disagree.  We glorify God through service and worship and love (of neighbor) and prayer and obedience.  In all these ways, we exalt God.  In the process, we discover pleasure and joy.  Piper has human beings pursuing pleasure.  I prefer the idea of pursuing God’s will and submitting myself to God’s authority.  Along the way, God gives more pleasure than I would find if I were seeking it.
                Piper would take my last statement and say it ultimately means I was deep down seeking pleasure all along.  I would retort that no, I was seeking God, not knowing when pleasure would come.  At times in my own walk, I did not know if pleasure would come.  I was just sure that life is in Christ. 
                My first reason for giving an unfavorable review is his metaphor – Christian Hedonism.  I was never convinced in its effectiveness throughout the book.  I will never frame my description of Christianity in that way.
                My second reason for not finding the book appealing is the legalistic tone Piper sets in chapter 1.  This tone dissipates as the book progresses, but from the outset, he is commanding joy and commanding how and where joy is to be found.  And he has valid scriptural support.  But I think those passages are directed to a believing community in the context of worship.  To command a nonbeliever to be joyful would be unintelligible to that nonbeliever.  The command only makes sense after I am aware of the reality not just that God exists, but also that God is all-loving and all-powerful.  Knowing those two realities, I understand that I find my joy in God.
                But, it hits me the wrong way when Piper is telling me I “must” delight in God.  Let me discover that.  Don’t cram it down my throat.  Again, I don’t think I necessarily disagree with what John Piper writes.  I think it is mostly on target.  I am greatly turned off by how he writes it.  I don’t want to be told, ‘be joyful.’  I want to be invited into worship and into the Word.  Invite me.  Let me feel like I have the freedom to choose this.  Then, because God is God, I will discover the joy that Piper is commanding me to feel and express.  Because he mandates this joy, I almost don’t want it.




                Thus, I recommend readers pass on Desiring God.  There are much better books that will draw one to the Lord’s heart.  Perhaps my negative review is related to the lenses through which I see the world.  I have family members whose faith was restored after reading Piper’s book.  They would surely be unhappy with my review.  All I can offer is my own response.  As I read this, I kept seeking connection points and I found some, especially in chapter 10.  Even so, when I finished the book, I was glad to be done, but not glad for having read it.  Due to the poor metaphor choice and the pushy tone, I advise readers against reading Desiring God.




    Disclaimer - I received this book for free from WaterBrookMultnomah Publishing Group for this review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Desiring God

    Desiring God is a John Piper classic. In it, Piper discusses why he is a Christian hedonist (a term he coined) and what that means. He explains how the ultimate thing in life is to glory in God and enjoy Him.

    The book seems to repeat itself often, and can sometimes feel like Piper is talking in circles but if it is broken down into small amounts, it is definitely a good read. Numerous scriptures back everything Piper discusses up.

    While this book is a classic, it is definitely a slow read as it needs to be digested in small portions. This is not a book to just read, it is a book to take in.

    *I received this book for free in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. *

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011

    Great book and very in depth but not for everyone

    I have to say that I love John Piper. He is a great teacher and so very in depth which I really like. This book and the dvd teaching would work well for a small group, but not every small group. We tested this out and it although I thouroughly enjoyed it and learned so much about being content in God, it lost others especially those new in their faith. There are some real gems in this book and many of the other books Piper writes, but I would recommend it for groups or persons who think on a little deeper level and are mature enough to follow Piper. I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    Amazing depth, but a bit long

    Desiring God

    Whenever I walk through Barnes and Noble, I am amazed at how many books are published that shouldn't be. Honestly, where did these publishers find the authors putting out some material? There are relatively few books that should be published, and fewer that should be republished.

    Desiring God is a book that was transformational when released in the 80's, and still finds itself as a foundational book today, in 2011, as it is released in it's revised edition, 25 years later. A book that clearly shows the joy that is found in fully engaging oneself into the Christian faith.

    If you are looking for a light, easy read.perhaps one that can be used as a bathroom reader or coffee table décor, it is not this book! John Piper is a theologian, and writes as such. This book requires a pen to underline good points, time to think through revealed principles, and coffee to keep your attention.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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