Have you ever read a book that challenges you to pursue your greatest joy? Well that book is called the Bible. John Piper's book "Desiring God," digs deep into the scriptures and really elaborates what pursuing your greatest joy is and what it looks like. I'm grateful for this book because it grows my affections for Christ. And a book that is Christ-centered, gospel-driven, all about Jesus, you can't really go wrong with reading it! I've been really enjoying it :)
Piper's claim is that he is a Christian Hedonist, a term that isn't popular with everyone. But I love how he explains it, "it's not seeking God as a means to help us get worldly pleasures, the pleasure Christian Hedonism seeks is the pleasure which is in God himself" (pg. 20). Our exceeding joy is HIM. I love that. It is so refreshing to read that. We're not doing God a favor by "following" Him. When we follow God, we are seeking our highest joy because to be with Him is the greatest joy. Isn't that refreshing?
Maybe you're been told before, I know I have, to be a disciple of Jesus you need to give up a lot of stuff that makes you happy. But those things in reality don't actually bring you any lasting joy. Sure there are things you need to leave behind and forsake to be a disciple, but Jesus never calls you out of joy, He calls you into joy. In His presence is fullness of joy. Being a disciple of Jesus is you giving up all your garbage at the cross and trading it in for His righteousness, blamelessness, and joy. Doesn't seem like a fair trade. Because it's not. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. And yet Jesus, the sinless perfect spotless lamb, took your place. Took my place. Ephesians 2:1-20- Read it. That's seriously the best news in the world.
"The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in GOD" -Piper
"The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever"
Also Piper's preface to the book was very moving as he acknowledged some missionaries as heroes and said "all the missionaries who left everything for Christ and in the end said 'I never made a sacrifice,'" isn't the truth in that just so beautiful? Jesus makes it worth it all.
Looking forward to reading on and letting the Holy Spirit grow my affections for Christ more and more.
And may I forever say "how precious is your steadfast love, O God!" Psalm 36:7
Joy is not far, joy is in Jesus.