Kindling Not Killjoy

On Chapter 5 of John Piper's Desiring God

Our hedonism is scratched with chapter 5 in the mere fact that it is much easier to follow than some of its predecessors.  This is not to say that chapter 5 requires less thought than the others.  Reading Piper always demands the brain be switched on.  Chapter 5 will fill the starving mind with good things, meditations on the Word of God.

I think many people will find it surprising that Pastor Piper calls the Bible kindling and not a killjoy (144).  In my experience as a pastor my observation has been that most people, even within the church find the Bible boring and not refreshing/reviving/nourishing as Pastor Piper teaches.  If these were writing this book, I believe that by their practice they would not be given to include the Bible in anything remotely related to Hedonism.  So what’s the problem?

“Almost everybody in the world would agree that if the one and true God has spoken, then people who ignore His Word can have no lasting happiness (144).”  I think the problem, even within the church, is that the Word of God is being categorically ignored.  I think in Piper’s outline of purposes for this chapter he diagnoses the issue (144).  1)  We ignore what the Bible is, “the reliable Word of God.”  2)  We ignore what the Bible both promises and has the power to do.  3)  We ignore it by failing to spend the time necessary to “bind that sword so closely around our waist that we are never without it.”  People perceive the Bible to be a killjoy because they have never dared to bind it to their soul.

This chapter requires no commentary.  I will only give one admonition.  Read it in such a way that you enjoy it, meditating on all of the stated benefits of the Word of God.  Dare yourself to bind all of the wonderful passages Piper pulls from Scripture to your soul.  That being said, I wish only to add one more thought; my own hedonism in the Word of God.

I must confess I have ignored the Word of God.  That is not to say I have not read it, studied it, and loved to preach it.  But I have failed, until recently, to approach it as George Mueller,

“The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.”

Until recently, I have been content to start my days having heard nothing from God.  Now, I refuse to start the day until I have given sufficient opportunity for God to speak to my soul.  It has required rising early, while it is still dark.  It has required coffee (nothing spiritual there).  It has required memorization of Scripture, long passages, entire chapters, not just a verse here and there.  It has required meditating on what I have worked to memorize.  It has required a journal in which to write my prayers.  I can testify to the fact, that I have loved every moment of this feast.  I look forward to it when I go to bed at night, taking a moment to read over the portion of Scripture I will work to memorize the following morning.  “In Your law I meditate day and night (Psalm 1:2).”  I guess you could say I have become hedonistic about this.  I so desire God to speak because He has, and He does, and He will continue to do so.  Some mornings are more difficult than others.  Six year olds can spill large quantities of cereal without supervision.  Having rescued Lucky Charms, I return to the Word, not content to start the day until my soul gives God audience and He speaks.  Some mornings He says very little.  But even then I have the assurance that throughout the day the meditations of the morning will take root and bear fruit.  From this I have found kindling for counsel, for leadership, and for sermons.  I am feasting on the Word of God and am finding true all of its promises, that it is indeed wonderful to the soul.


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