Preview to “The Dangerous Duty of Delight”

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Founder & Teacher,

A Personal Letter from John Piper to All Our Web Visitors

Dear Friends of Desiring God,

May I encourage you to dream with me of what our kind and merciful God might do for unbelievers through Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ and The Dangerous Duty of Delight!

I wrote these little books in the hope that those who are intimidated by a 400-page book might be willing to peek at God through a crack in the wall. We are not here to make money. We are here to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

If you have not considered using these little books to give away to unbelieving friends with a note of personal testimony, I pray you would think about it. Thanks for visiting our web site. We would like to serve you in any way we can.

Sold out to spread (with you) a passion for God,

John Piper


Chapter One

Delight yourself in the Lord.

K i n g D a v i d

Rejoice in the Lord always.

A p o s t l e P a u l

Rejoice and be glad,

for your reward in heaven is great

J e s u s C h r i s t

Christian Hedonism Is not New

"Christian Hedonism" is a controversial name for an old-fashioned way of life.

It goes back to Moses, who wrote the first books of the Bible and threatened terrible things if we would not be happy: "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart . . . therefore you shall serve your enemies" (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).

. . . and to the Israelite king David, who called God his "exceeding joy" (Psalm 43:4); and said, "Serve the Lord with gladness" (Psalm 100:2) and "Delight yourself in the Lord" (Psalm 37:4); and who prayed, "Satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may . . . be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14); and who promised that complete and lasting pleasure is found in God alone: "In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever" (Psalm 16:11).

. . . and to Jesus, who said, "Blessed are you when peopleinsult you . . . . Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great" (Matthew 5:11-12); and who said, "I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full" (John 15:11); and who endured the cross "for the joy set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2); and who promised that, in the end, faithful servants would hear the words, "Enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21).

. . . and to James the brother of Jesus, who said, "Consider it all joy . . . when you encounter various trials" (James 1:2).

. . . and to the apostle Paul, who was "sorrowful yet always rejoicing" (2 Corinthians 6:10); and who described the ministry of his team as being "workers with you for your joy" (2 Corinthians 1:24); and who commanded Christians to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4); and even to "exult in . . . tribulations" (Romans 5:3).

. . . and to the apostle Peter, who said, "To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Peter 4:13).

. . . and to Saint Augustine, who, in the year 386, found his freedom from lust and lechery in the superior pleasures of God. "How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! . . . You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure."

. . . and to Blaise Pascal, who saw that "all men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. . . . The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."

. . . and to the Puritans whose aim was to know God so well that "delighting in him, may be the work of our lives," because they knew that this joy would "arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks."

. . . and to Jonathan Edwards, who discovered and taught as powerfully as anyone that "the happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted." "The end of the creation is that the creation might glorify [God]. Now what is glorifying God, but a rejoicing at that glory he has displayed?"

. . . and to C. S. Lewis, who discovered "We are far too easily pleased."

. . . and to a thousand missionaries who have left everything for Christ and in the end have said, with David Livingstone, "I never made a sacrifice."

Christian Hedonism is not new.
Excerpted from The Dangerous Duty of Delight © 2001 by Desiring God Foundation. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Excerpt may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of Multnomah Publishers, Inc.