Christian Hedonism

Q. Can you tell me what a Christian Hedonist is and if it’s biblical? I know that hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure, but I’ve never heard of a Christian Hedonist.

A. “Christian hedonism” is a term coined by John Piper. It’s his way of expressing the Biblical truth that when we desire God with all our hearts, we will know pleasure beyond anything this world has to offer.

I’m not always in tune with John Piper, but on this point he and I agree. I believe this idea was first expressed by King David in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Hebrew word translated “delight” means to be soft and delicate, allowing oneself to be pampered. This is the effect of a close, intimate relationship. God has placed in our heart the desire to be happy, but He wants to be the source of our happiness. Therefore, the more we delight in Him the happier we will be.

In a nutshell, pagan hedonism the self-focused pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself. Christian hedonism is the Lord-focused pursuit of the closest possible relationship with Him, which will ultimately result in the greatest pleasure we can know.

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