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Pleasures Forever

January 25, 2009


God gets bad press. The name “devil” means “slanderer” and from day one Satan has engaged in an aggressive campaign to slander God. His original temptation to Eve suggested that God was withholding something good by forbidding Adam and Eve from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The temptation also suggested that the first couple would find true satisfaction by sinning. The devil has used that same strategy again and again: “God is opposed to your enjoyment of life. Following God is gloomy. Sin will bring you true pleasure.”

But the truth of the Bible is that sin may bring short-term pleasure, but it always brings long-term misery and pain. Submitting to God may bring short-term difficulty and pain, but it always results in lasting joy and pleasure. And so the core of the Christian life is to seek lasting joy and pleasure in God. The familiar Westminster Shorter Catechism begins, “What is the chief end of man?” Answer: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” John Piper has thoughtfully improved on that by altering it to, “The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever” (Desiring God [Multnomah Books], Tenth Anniversary Edition, p. 15). As Piper often explains, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

Piper (p. 16) cites the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, who points out that all men seek happiness and that this motive is at the root of every action we take. Even those who hang themselves are seeking happiness, although in a very wrong way! Then Piper cites C. S. Lewis, who points out that contrary to what many think, the Bible consistently appeals to our desire for lasting pleasure. But that pleasure is not found in “drink and sex and ambition,” but in knowing and following Jesus Christ. Psalm 34:8 invites us, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” It’s an invitation to enjoy God!

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John Piper
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