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Joy Is Never Optional | Desiring God | Messages | Churchisonline.com

by John Piper
How Can We Feel God's Presence?

Audio Transcript

God commands all people, everywhere and in all times, to pursue their maximum pleasure. And by maximum I mean two senses: qualitatively and in duration. So he commands every human being to pursue 24/7 with all your heart and all your soul, all your might, all your strength, pleasure — maximum pleasure. Maximum in quality, maximum in duration.

Secondly, Christian hedonism affirms that the highest quality pleasure and the most durable, long-lasting pleasure is found only in God. Not His gifts, but God Himself.

  • “Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). That’s a command, not a suggestion.
  • “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 34:7). It’s a command.
  • “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous” (Psalm 32:11).
  • “Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). That’s the prayer of a righteous man.

So the first and great commandment is to enjoy God, love God, delight in God, be satisfied with the supreme value and beauty of God. That’s what love means. Love doesn’t mean work for it, he doesn’t need your work. “God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything, for he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).

Loving God doesn’t mean working for God. Loving God means, “You’re my favorite. You’re all satisfying. You’re beautiful. You meet every longing that I have. I delight in you. I’m satisfied in who you are. You’re the end of my question.” That’s what loving God means. It’s the first and great commandment. So Christian Hedonism affirms that you should pursue your joy maximally and forever. And that’s only found in God.

In your presence is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11)

“You can’t offer me or even conceive of a better thing than I have in God through Jesus.”

I have often said to groups, and I’ll say it now to you. If you could truly give me a pleasure, a happiness that is fuller than full and longer than forever I would stop being a Christian and follow your way. And I do not believe that the Lord hearing me say that right now in heaven is the least offended. I think he’s smiling right now.

You know why? Because he knows that statement is a way of saying, “Not only can you not offer me anything better than Christ, you can’t conceive of anything better than Christ.” Fuller than full is a contradiction. Longer than eternity is a contradiction. You can’t offer me or even conceive of a better thing than I have in God. There are no takers for this challenge on the planet. You can’t improve on Psalm 16:11.

So Christian Hedonism affirms that I am to pursue my joy in God — fully and forever — and it can’t be found anywhere else.

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