Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Desiring God, by John Piper

Although I've been familiar with John Piper for a number of years, this was my first time to read one of his books. Desiring God was excellent, and gave me a lot to think about. It did take me quite a while to get through it, not because it was difficult to read, but because I wanted to take my time and try to absorb as much as possible. Even so, I think this is a book that I'll have to go back to again and again, so I can glean more!

Desiring God has the subtitle "Meditations of a Christian Hedonist," which does sound like a bit strange. In fact, some people may be turned off by the title (my husband was). Piper includes an appendix explaining exactly why he chose the unusual term "Christian hedonist," which was helpful to me. His main premise is that we, as Christians, bring most glory to God by delighting in Him; that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." He then breaks this down into a number of chapters about how we can delight in God and glorify Him in different areas: conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering. I found all of these chapters to be challenging and convicting in different ways, but I particularly enjoyed the chapters on worship, Scripture, prayer, and suffering.

I think the thing I appreciated most about Desiring God was the way it was packed full of Scripture. Piper continually points the reader back to God's Word, and I was refreshed and challenged by the verses scattered throughout each chapter. He also quotes from many "heroes of the faith" (Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, George Mueller, Jim Elliot, and many others), and I loved reading their stories and "hearing" their words. The next time I go through this book, I will read it with a highlighter in hand so I can mark phrases and quotes that stand out to me. One that has stuck with me ever since reading the chapter on Scripture, for example, is Piper's statement that "if we intend to wield it, we must wear it. . . . If we do not carry it in our heads, we cannot savor it in our hearts or wield it in the Spirit. If you go without the kindling of Christian Hedonism, the fire of Christian happiness will be quenched before midmorning." Very thought-provoking and convicting words!

Desiring God is a book well worth having in the believer's library! This edition also includes a helpful study guide at the back. I haven't gone through that yet, but hope to at a later time.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

No comments: