Published on February 7th, 2011 | by Dustin Schledewitz
Enjoying God: Thoughts on Desiring God by John Piper
Almost two years ago I read Desiring God by John Piper. However, as a result of a conversation that I had with my wife last night (regarding how little that I think we experience the riches of God) and a book that I read this morning on the Holy Spirit, this book by Piper came to mind. He spends the whole book persuading the reader that “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever” (18).
I must confess that this idea of enjoying God was, and often is, vague to me. It sounds so true, yet seems elusive. Through the writing of C.S. Lewis, Piper points out that enjoying God can seem elusive because we often don’t understand that we were indeed created to pursue pleasure. There has typically been something inside of me that whispers, “If it’s enjoyable or pleasurable, it’s probably not right.” Doesn’t it seem a bit selfish to do things out of a desire for enjoyment? But in reality, we seem to always be pursuing pleasure, but settling for lesser things. Piper quotes C.S. Lewis’s writing that
[we] “are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” (20).
We should pursue pleasure, but we shouldn’t settle – we were designed to relate to and ultimately delight in God. If this still sounds selfish, what better way is there to make someone else look good than to delight in them? Piper points out that “Not to enjoy God is to dishonor Him” (22). Out of our enjoyment, true worship flows. Jonathan Edwards put it this way: “God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in” (22).
Super Bowl, Super Enjoyment
Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday. People pay large amounts of money and stream into the stadium for this glorious game. Those who can’t afford to be there enjoy huddling around the TV. It is enjoyable for most. People express their delight and pleasure freely, and often pay a costly price to be closer, see it more clearly, and experience it more deeply.
Although any analogy for God can be found lacking, it provides a fitting image for how God’s creation should clamor to be closer to Him, to see Him more clearly, and experience Him more deeply.
At the gate of God’s stadium stands His Son – His advertisement, the exact representation of His being, beckoning all of creation to come and see and taste that the Lord is good. There is only one entrance into the stadium, and he gladly holds the door open with His nail-pierced hands, wanting all to know the Father.
From that point the Holy Spirit serves as the usher. He guides us, seats us in our new position and His comfort, provides nourishment, opens up the program of Truth for us, and helps the information sink home and transform us.
And in the middle of the stadium…sits the Father. His glory fills the stadium. Passerby’s can hear the crowd respond to glory of the Trinity and the pleasure that is had. Times of awed silence are punctuated by eruptions of excitement. The glory of the Three-in-One is made known by the satisfied longings and joyful noise of the ones surrounding His sidelines, seeing Him clearly, and experiencing Him deeply.
If you have a chance, read Desiring God. May we be changed into creatures that choose to soak up and enjoy our amazing Creator, making known His glory to those we encounter.
Have you struggled with the concept of enjoying God? What makes it easier for you to enjoy Him?