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.
This seems easier said than done.
Most Christians hold to the unfortunate idea that we should not be purposefully seeking joy in our life. That, in some way, the Christian life is a hard one, and to deny that is to deny faith. That our treasures and joy are stored up in Heaven, but until then, have fun living a dull, meaningless, joyless, hard life.
This is total garbage.
Just because we seek after and desire joy, and an abundance of it, does not mean it’s wrong. It just depends where the source of that joy comes from. If
our joy comes from God, and lining up with the rhythm of life God is trying to get us into, then let the joy come.
There’s nothing more joyful than knowing your right standing with God through Christ, and that you are living a life intentionally laid out for you.
Joy from God transcends life – crappy jobs, small bank accounts, broken relationships. But 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. To see who can outlast who in a hard life 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. Relationship with God is not something that can break just because you screw up here and there. 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. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37.4).”
There isn’t a single verse in all of scripture, not a single one, which condemns us from wanting to have joy in our lives. Morose is 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.
Stop denying joy in life by trying to serve a caricature of God. Stop looking for it in the wrong places.
Delight in God.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Rom 15.13).