“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
One common objection to Christian Hedonism is that it puts the interests of man above the glory of God — that it puts my happiness above God’s honor. But Christian Hedonism most emphatically does not do this.
To be sure, we Christian Hedonists endeavor to pursue our interest and our happiness with all our might. We endorse the resolution of the young Jonathan Edwards: “Resolved: To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.”
But we have learned from the Bible (and from Edwards!) that God’s interest is to magnify the fullness of his glory by spilling over in mercy to us — to us sinners, who desperately need him.
Therefore, the pursuit of our interest and our happiness, even if it costs us our lives, is never above God’s interest and God’s happiness and God’s glory, but always in God’s. One of the most precious truths in the Bible is that God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of his grace by making sinners happy in him — in him!
When we humble ourselves like little children and put on no airs of self-sufficiency, but run happily into the joy of our Father’s embrace, the glory of his grace is magnified and the longing of our soul is satisfied. Our interest and his glory become one.
When Jesus promises in Matthew 6:6, “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you,” this is a reward he wants us to seek. He does not lure us with joy we shouldn’t have! But this reward — this joy — is the overflow of turning away from human praise, and going into our closet to seek God.
Therefore, Christian Hedonists do not put their happiness above God’s glory. They put their happiness in God himself and discover the glorious truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.