Here are some quotes that struck me from chapter 2 of, When I Don't Desire God, by John Piper:
Piper discusses the relationship between desire for God and delight in God. "Desire would not exist if the thing enjoyed had not already been tasted. That's how the heart comes to feel something is desirable. Desire is awakened by tastes of pleasure. The taste may be ever so small. But if there is no taste at all of the desirability of something, then there will be no desire for it. In other words, desire is a form of the very pleasure that is anticipated with the arrival of the thing desired. It is, you might say, the pleasure itself experienced in the form of anticipation" (page 26).
"Finite creatures like us, who have a spiritual taste for the glory of God, will always want more of God than we presently experience--even in eternity. There will always be more of God to enjoy. Which means there will always be holy desire--forever" (pages 27-28).
"Our desires--no matter how small--have been awakened by the spiritual taste we once had of the presence of God. They are an evidence that we have tasted" (page 28).
"In the age to come, desire for more of God will never be experienced with impatience or ingratitude or frustration. All desire in the age to come will be the sweetest anticipation, rooted ever more deeply in the enlarging memories of joy and in the ever-gathering pleasures of gratitude. God will not take from us the pleasure of anticipated pleasures. He will heighten it. He will give us for all eternity the perfect intermingling of present pleasure and anticipation of future pleasure. Anticipation will be stripped of all frustration. Its ache will be a wholly pleasant ache" (page 28).
"Desire and delight have this in common: Neither is the Object desired or delighted in. God is. I make this obvious point because all of us from time to time speak loosely and say that the aim of our pursuit is joy. Or we way that we want to be happy. Those are not false or evil statements.... But the loose way of talking can be misleading. Both ways of saying it can be taken to mean: The object of our wants is ultimately a psychological expreience of happiness without any regard to what makes us happy. In other words, they may mean: the final object of our pursuit is joy itself, rather than the beauty of what we find joy in" (page 29). Piper quotes C. S. Lewis, who explains that seeking joy itself rather than God will leave you empty. "I had been equally wrong in supposing that I desired Joy itself. Joy itself, considered simply as an event in my own mind, turned out to be of no value at all. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring" (Lewis, Surprised by Joy, in Piper, page 30).
"God is glorified in his people by the way we experience him, not merely by the way we think about him. Indeed the devil thinks more true thoughts about God in one day than a saint does in a lifetime, and God is not honored by it. The problem with the devil is not his theology, but his desires" (pages 30-31).
"I have found for thirty years that preaching and teaching about God's demand that we delight in him more than in anything else breaks and and humbles people, and makes them desperate for true conversion and true Christianity. Oh, how easy it is to think we are what we ought to be when the emotions are made peripheral. Mere thoughts and mere deeds are manageable by the carnal religious mind. But the emotions--they are the weathercock of the heart. Nothing shows the direction of the deep winds of the soul like the demand for radical, sin-destroying, Christ-exalting joy in God" (page 31).
A La Carte (5/22)
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