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on September 4, 2012
This is a paradigm altering book. I don't say that about many books. But I'm going to start this review by saying exactly that: this book will change your view of the Christian life and faith. It certainly has mine. Now, I know this sounds rather cheesy-alarming, even. I, too, tend to stay away from descriptions like "revolutionary" and "life changing" because they sound rather gimmicky. But I hope you understand, then, the height of the regard in which I hold this book.

What does one do with verses such as "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Ps. 34:8a) and "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice" (Phil. 4:4)? Surely, having been commanded these things, we ought to do them. But what do these commands really mean? What is it to "rejoice" in the Lord, to take joy and pleasure in Him? These are the kinds of questions John Piper tackles in this book. And if, as Piper claims, "[t]he chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever" (18), then every Christian ought also to know the answer to these questions. To understand these answers is to glorify God on a whole new level, and to live the Christian life in a different-satisfying-manner.

In his introduction to the book, Piper talks about how he became a Christian hedonist, giving readers the same verses and convictions that led him to his current beliefs. In the first chapter, he sets forth the principle that "[t]he chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever" (31). He shows that "God is absolutely sovereign over the world, that He can therefore do anything He pleases, and that He is therefore not a frustrated God, but a deeply happy God, rejoicing in all His works (Psalm 104:31) when He considers them in relation to redemptive history" (41). And then, because God's very essence demands that God value Himself, He does. God loves Himself to the utmost and seeks to glorify Himself.

Can you see it? Oh, the beauty! If God always acts for His glory's sake, then He will seek to glorify Himself in us. And if God loves us, then He will give us that which is best for us, that which we will enjoy most-that is, Himself. He gives us Himself to enjoy as part of a boundless display of His glory and worth. The gift of God of Himself and our enjoyment of God intersects-better to say that it completely overlaps-with His glory! As Piper states, "In view of God's infinite power and wisdom and beauty, what would His love for a human being involve? Or to put it another way: What could God give us to enjoy that would prove Him most loving? There is only one possible answer: Himself!" (47-48). As we enjoy Him and praise Him for giving us this most incredible gift, He is glorified!

There are ten chapters to the revised edition: the first is about the "foundation for Christian Hedonism," the second is on conversion and "the creation of a Christian Hedonist," and the eight chapters that follow discuss worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering. Each of the eight body chapters centers the topic in question around Christian Hedonism, how our pursuit or use of the subject matter will satisfy us and glorify God.

John Piper wants you to know that this book is grounded in, and takes its cues from, the truths of Scripture. This book is replete with quotations from the Word, but also from an incredible array of theologians. He quotes Scripture in abundance. When necessary, he defines the original Greek to clarify the meaning. He also quotes from Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, Hudson Taylor, and so many more. One cannot fault John Piper with having groundless claims. One cannot accuse John Piper of not drawing his beliefs from Scripture. As much as this is a helpful and enlightening work, it is also a scholarly work, with all its ideas properly attributed, ultimately for the exposition of Scripture and the glory of God.

This book has been unbelievably helpful in showing me why and how to center my life on God. Since my conversion, He has never merely been an addition to my life; indeed, my pursuit has been to bring His influence into every sphere of my life. "Desiring God" has been indispensible in that regard. Piper has clearly shown how taking joy in God is necessary, is God-glorifying, and inevitably touches every area of life. God has been exalted and made deeply personal. This book has helped me fight sin by showing me the greater pleasures found in God. This book has given me a renewed hunger for God, a desire for undiminishable joy, all to see Him glorified.
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2012
Thousands of books are published every year but among those thousands very few will be a remembered after a year of their publishing, and even fewer still will be remembered twenty or thirty years after its first publishing. Desiring God by Dr. John Piper is a book that has been held in high regard by many Christians for a very long time. I first read Desiring God when I was a teenager and read it again several years later. After many years of reading Desiring God I was excited when last year the Revised Edition of Desiring God came out.

Desiring God has been a paradigm shifting book. By that I mean that it has made a deep impact on how I live out the Christian life. Piper in this book teaches that there is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. Desiring God teaches that for followers of Jesus, delight is the duty, because Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him. Piper time and time again draws his readers backs to the Scripture by showing why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. By going into the implications this has on conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions and suffering he convincingly demonstrates the integrated nature of what a Christian life looks like when Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.

Desiring God will turn your Christian life upside-down by giving you a vision of the glory of God and the beauty of Jesus Chris. I recommend you read Desiring God but be prepared to be confronted and challenged with the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Title: Desiring God
Author: John Piper
Publisher: Multnomah Books(2011)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Multnomah Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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on May 7, 2012
This is a must read!
The excitement with which Piper introduces this concept (an old truth) dressed in a very unlikely fresh concept... has life-change in store for readers at the very least!!!

Piper got me in love with God again!
Piper also convinced me from the Word of God that I may desire compassionately....but that I should not settle for anything less than God Himself!
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on January 20, 2011
Over the years this 25 year old classic has changed my life (not that I had a copy 25 years ago!)and has put my relationship with Jesus Christ on fire!! Become a fan of John Piper over the years and God is definately using this man to bring us closer to our Lord and Savior. This hardback re-release has extra chapter in it and new introduction...all in all still an awesome book!! This hardback version will last me longer than my old paperback edition. Don't get me wrong here, I am NOT putting this book above the TRUE Word of God that is ONLY found in Scripture, but I believe God uses preachers and teachers to help us get MORE out of His Word through great books like this.
Another amazing thing is Amazon. These guys are AWESOME!!! I ordered this book on the 17th of January and got sent out on the 18th (the release date). It was delivered the next day! It came to Texas from Kentucky fast without extra charge. Now that is service!! Think I will not mess with marketplace sellers that are slow any longer and deal with Amazon directly...GREAT job guys! VERY happy customer here!! And the price is great, too!
Desiring God, 25th Anniversary Reference Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
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on December 30, 2011
I first read Desiring God in the late 1980's after hearing about it from someone I knew. I was a young Christian at the time. Like Knowing God, it would be one of the books to lay the foundation for my life as a Christian. But not all books hold up over time. So I am reviewing the revised edition from the perspective of an older Christian who has read this book a few times. Does it hold up? Why should I bother with a revised edition? Those are the questions I come to the book with.

Does it hold up? Classic books stand the test of time. There are books that are very popular when they are released, but 10 or 20 years later people won't point to them as significant long term. This is a book people still talk about. This book is chock-full of good theology. Piper not only defends his assertions regarding Christian Hedonism, but he lays out lots of good theology. In other words, his theological distinctive (you can actually see similar teaching in Calvin, Burroughs, Owen and other Reformed pastors, not just Edwards) does not exist in a vacuum. Piper has to work through the sovereignty of God, the character of God and the nature of salvation. I think I used more ink in my new copy than in my old one.

People often misunderstand his position based on the name. But the point is that a Christian Hedonist seeks their pleasure in God, one of the many things were are commanded to do in Scripture. Piper shows how Scripture not only teaches but feeds Christian Hedonism. He unpacks the doctrine to see how it plays out in marriage, money, missions and more. One subject that is missing would be work (perhaps in the 30th anniversary edition). This is a very practical theology book, but one that is rooted in theology.

The message is rooted in the Gospel. It does not neglect the hard things in life, suffering and sacrifice. Piper's rationale for self-denial in a consumer culture is rooted in the gospel in a way I don't see Platt or Chan's. 25 years from now I suspect people will still be talking about this book and not really talking about those books.

Why should I bother with the new edition? There is far more to it than just the chapter on suffering. The chapter on suffering is quite important however. It is a welcome addition to the book, and helps strengthen his case.

The main Bible translation is now the ESV instead of the NIV. This reflects the shift that has taken place in the most likely audience for this book. This is a helpful shift moving forward since the NIV (1984) is fading into obscurity. Fewer people will be familiar with it. But they don't always follow through. They will quote a large section of a passage from the ESV, but as Piper works through it the words will be different. He's quoting the NIV (or perhaps his own unnoted translation). The editor did not always make the necessary changes.

The end notes are now footnotes. I prefer footnotes. I don't like flipping back and forth. My end notes were filled with ink as I learned a great deal from them. I discovered new books to read and Piper often worked through lesser points in his arguments in the end notes. The end notes, for me, were an important part of this book (and all this books). There are updated notes as well, often showing where an idea of his was more fully developed in another book. I just wish the print wasn't so small. I needed to break out the reading glasses for them.

They also included a study guide to help you think through the material. Each lesson ends with praying through a Psalm. The guide is helpful for groups or individuals to internalize the message of the book.

Overall, they made this classic book better. I hope it helps shape the thinking of a new generation of young Christians just like it shaped me. Actually, I hope it shapes lots of generations of young Christians.

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of review.]
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on November 7, 2011
Is it possible for us to have joy when our good deeds cost us dearly? Naturally, it does not make sense. How can one find pleasure in such sacrifice? In his book, John Piper argues that joy and satisfaction is very much possible when one surrenders completely to Christ. Our conversion leads the change from our natural pursuit of sinful pleasures to our spiritual pursuit of joy in God. Christ becomes the delight of our heart's desire. This love for God energizes our Christian life. No longer will we view our act of obedience as something dreadful; instead, we will find delight in our obedience.

Piper finds the evidence in Christ's act of sacrifice. This is the greatness of Christian belief that differentiates from other belief systems. God does not exalt himself by making us work for him. Instead, God saves us by emptying his divine nature and by taking the form of a servant. God exalts himself by serving us (:170). Other religions demand our good work in order to attain our salvation.
I find the book inspiring; however, some may find it too philosophical. It asks questions such as: Is God a second-hander? Does God show off His glory so that he receives the praise from us? Can God be loving when he demands our praise? However, these are essential questions that one must confront to really understand the ultimate desire of God for us. Through these questions, Piper comes to the conclusion that our praise to God results from the wondrous works of God that leads to our ultimate joy in Him.

I would rate the book 5 stars for its insightful message. It prompts us to ask deep questions that will ultimately lead us to find our true delight by glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Multnomah book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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on July 28, 2011
In 1996 I first read Desiring God by John Piper and at that time enjoying God and glorifying Him were new concepts to me. The whole book was a new concept and I worked through it slowly. So, when I got the opportunity to read this new version I really looked forward to it. I wanted to find out what was different about this edition and if I had changed since I first read it. I found that the book was easier for me to read this time through and that many of the concepts had become my own beliefs. It was kind of like a yard stick for measuring how much I had grown in my relationship with God over the years. I was so pleased to find the end notes on each page (which made it much easier to check them out), and I was also pleased to find that the font is a bit larger ~ I guess that, like myself, John Piper is needing larger print as he ages.

I was not disappointed and I'm so thankful that I revisited this book. I have underlined many things and folded pages over. I was reminded of the C.S. Lewis statement about us being "far too easily pleased", and especially enjoyed the chapter on prayer (the section on how the great awakening started). I found that in the back of the book there is a group study guide which would be great to work through with some friends.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
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on August 10, 2011
I won't lie. I am a fast reader. But this book took me a looong time to read. Well over a month. There were several things to consider when assessing why it took me so long. First, this is not a fast read kind of book .The subject matter is deep, and Piper is not a breezy, accessible to the masses kind of author. That is fine. I don't think that always choosing the literary equivalent of cotton candy is the best route,and it definitely does nothing to broaden the mind. So, keep in mind, that this is a book best read in a quiet place with plenty of time for reflection.

I don't have anything against challenging material. However, the second reason that it took so long is that I despise books with extensive footnotes. I have never read any book (barring textbooks) that had as many footnotes as this one. I felt like I spent more time on some pages trying to find my place after yet again squinting to read the smaller, numbered font at the bottom than I did actually processing the words! Piper is obviously well-read, but his continual quoting of other's works-whether to support or contrast his own- became distracting after a while. It is definitely worse in the first half of the book than the second. I am not one for reading legal treatises; I don't need him to "prove" himself and his views quite so vigorously. It may seem petty to dislike this aspect, but to me it really said something about the author. He also used extensive quotes from other authors (Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, and even quoted himself from other books he had written) and it felt like he was arguing his point when I wasn't even taking issue with what he said!

Lastly, I don't need to be entertained all the time. However, there is a fine line between "entertaining" one's readers at the expense of valuable content, and maintaining their interest. I was just not able to focus on some of what he was saying because it was too intellectual. A book written for the average person should use layman's terms, and a good bit of analogy to aid explanation. Piper often seemed more interested in showcasing his knowledge of early Bible scholars and formal church language than actually interpreting spiritual concepts for the everyman.

All that said, I do not discourage you at all from reading this book yourself. There is much that is profitable. I preferred the latter half of the book (once I moved past his dry, sometimes painful explanations) and out of all the chapters found the last two to be the best. He has very strong views on missions, and suffering, in the church. I felt that he gave me much to think about.

His major claim throughout the book is that a Christian's life is to be spent in pursuit of happiness in God, and through Him. He contends that modern Christianity posits that ours is to be a life of drudgery and monotonous service-if we pursue happiness it is heathen, we are to "deny ourselves and take up our crosses". He does see this to be the case, and links our pursuit of happiness to major areas of Christianity: marriage, money, missions, prayer and so on. We can find true happiness in the Creator of happiness if we only know where to look.

I think the biggest reason that this book did not appeal to me is that it was written in such a manner that the author firmly believes that the reader does not agree with (or know enough about) Piper's points and must be made to see the error of his ways. I agreed with much of what he had to say, and to have to labor under his assumptions that I was un-enlightened and backward in my thinking was a little frustrating. However, if you are willing to look past his negative approach, (a little odd for a book that is all about happiness and joy in Christian living) I believe you will be challenged, and if nothing else gain a greater respect for many of the great Christians who have, through out the centuries, created a beautiful history that does much to illuminate our paths today.
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on November 10, 2015
Warning: don't form your opinion of Piper's premise until you have deliberately and fairly read the whole thing. He does a remarkable job of introducing us to a concept that most of us tend to intuitively resist. Keep reading. Finish the book. If you decide you just can't get your heart around it, so be it. But at least formulate your own reasons why you disagree, and be willing to hold them loosely--at least for a while. The read is not light. But it is delightful.
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on March 11, 2015
So rich. So thorough. So challenging. So not mainstream. John Piper has been used by God in such a wonderful and encouraging way for the growth of the church in our day and this flagship work Desiring God is his definitive work. As with most things in our culture, terms and concepts that were originally good or that had a good use tend to fall on hard times and become only known by their abuses or negative associations. This would be the case with the concept of hedonism. If thought of as only the secular type that is driven by the sinful nature of man, hedonism is truly the evil most of us think of when we hear the term. A fulfilling of our every whim, our carnal cravings, our unscrupulous desires which lead us ultimately to destruction. However, the wrong focus and abuse of a thing does not negate its proper use. Hedonism is, at it's core, a finding pleasure in something. If our desire for pleasure is laser focused on That which is the ultimate good, then this reveals there to be a good side to the term hedonism, a Christian hedonism, as Piper has coined it. This is what Desiring God is all about. Finding our pleasure, fulfilling our every longing in the One who created us to do just that; worship Him and enjoy Him forever.

After introducing us to the concept of Christian hedonism, Piper then spends chapter after chapter unpacking the implications and far reaching applications of this way of thinking. Instead of pitting obedience to God against seeking our own pleasure, Piper steps out on a ledge to explain that these two paradoxical concepts or actions are actually complementary to one another. We fully obey God when we seek our own pleasure - the ultimate pleasure - in Him. This concept has rocked the modern Christian world and even created some disagreement to Piper's work. But the exposition of the Scriptures that Piper walks his readers through in this book backs up his thesis.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. If you are intimidated by its length, a great primer to Desiring God is Piper's smaller work called The Dangerous Duty of Delight. Also, a great follow up to Desiring God is Piper's When I Don't Desire God. 

You pretty much can't go wrong reading a Piper book. You'll be instructed, encouraged and challenged by the Word. He isn't perfect, but the Word is.

E-book received from Blogging for Books in exchange for a free, unbiased review.
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