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689 Let the Dead Bury the Dead (details.asp)
Main Topics: Joy, Praise, Desire

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Common Lectionary: Proper 8C

God created us for infinite joy--along with its consummation in praise--but our desires are often too weak, and we are too easily pleased, so we must fight for this joy found in God's presence.

Keywords: - Love, John Piper, Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, Orthodoxy, Declaration of Independence

Key Scriptures: - Luk 9:60

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1.  Piper and Lewis on pleasure and desire

a. We should worship God not out of duty but from pleasure in Him

b. Desiring our own good and hoping for its enjoyment is biblical

c. Our desires are too weak: we are too easily pleased

2. Joy and Praise

a. Enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise

b. Praise expresses and completes enjoyment

c. Fight for joy found in God’s presence

Often the Church tells people that the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is an ungodly occupation. I propose that God made us for joy, his and ours, now and forever, in all circumstances. God relentlessly pursues joy, and we are commanded to seek joy in Him. Piper came to believe that it is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any reason [such as duty] other than pleasure in Him. Lewis speaks of how self-denial in Scripture is never an end in itself, and that nearly every description of what we will find when we deny ourselves contains an appeal to desire. Desiring our own good and hoping for its enjoyment IS a part of Christianity. Our desires are not too strong, but too weak! “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about … when infinite joy is offered to us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he can not imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea, we are far too easily pleased.” God offers infinite joy, but we are content to return to dust, watching on television ‘half-hearted creatures’ fooling about. We become decaying masses on the couch. It is these ‘dead’ that Jesus warns us about. Enjoyment should spontaneously overflow into praise; we delight to praise what we enjoy because praise both expresses and completes the enjoyment--it is its appointed consummation. I have felt joy even in times of mourning and difficulty as I experienced the presence of God. God’s purpose in making all of creation is for joy. Fight for this joy, and let us never miss it again.



Copyright 1987-2008 - George Byron Koch