When the Christian Life Becomes Impossible

When the Christian Life Becomes Impossible

“Christian Hedonism is a liberating and devastating doctrine,” John Piper writes.

It teaches that the value of God shines more brightly in the soul that finds deepest satisfaction in him. Therefore it is liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And it is devastating because it reveals that no one desires God with the passion he demands. Paradoxically, many people experience both of these truths. That certainly is my own experience.

So begins his book When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. I’ve hardly read anything that resonates with my soul the way this book does. The command to enjoy God — as right and central as it is biblically — is beyond our ability to perform. Piper explains what that discovery is like: “The Christian life became impossible. That is, it became supernatural.”

We simply can’t flip a switch to make our hearts love God the way he deserves. Our only hope of delighting in God is God himself giving the help. Piper writes, “God would have to transform my heart to do what a heart cannot make itself do, namely, want what it ought to want. Only God can make the depraved heart desire God.”

Amen, but what about us? Can we do anything? Relying completely on God’s grace, what are the means of grace and patterns of thinking to which we should avail ourselves in faith? That is what When I Don’t Desire God is about — how to fight for joy.

So we’re excited to say that you can now watch John Piper teach through the entire content online.

In 2005, Pastor John led a regional conference on this theme which was turned into a DVD product. Desiring God recently acquired the footage from that resource and has now transferred it completely to our site for free streaming and audio or video download.

Now keep in mind that the video is a bit of a throwback. Eight-years-old in web-years feels like fanny packs and Zubaz pants (when they were cool the first time). But the teaching is worth its weight in gold and hasn’t aged a day.

Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary .