“Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.”
Jonathan Edwards’s twenty second resolution is quite possibly one of the main cornerstones (or perhaps the keystone, but whatever) of John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life. It is one of the things that led Piper into a new and passionate understanding of meaning.
God is meaning, says the common Christienese proverb. But what does that mean? It means that we take God seriously. Period (or full-stop, for whoever might be Irish here). We take Him seriously in what He says, in what He desires, and in what He is. This means that we need to take life seriously, for God cares about all of life, and not just about handing out tracts, being a bus captain, or leading a small study group (sorry).
Piper’s foundational premise is that our joy is inextricably connected with God’s glory, and that to seek the one truthfully, is to seek the other. We all are to seek joy, and we all do: we cannot help it. That is the way that we are designed. But when we take God seriously, we are able to see the eternal truth and transcendent worth of His glory, and we will dedicate all of our lives to the passionate seeking of Him and His glory.
This is good news! Not only is joy attainable that is transcendent and untouched by circumstances, but it is also infinitely amazing and inexplicable in its pleasure. No other thing on earth can equal the joys that God has to offer us on earth, and they cannot even begin to compare to what He has for us in heaven. And this is to be found by dedicating your life in service to an all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, and eternally loving God. This is the Gospel, and it needs to be lived as much as preached.
Thus: God’s service is total and all-consuming, but it is not hard: it is infinitely joyous!
With joy and peace in Christ,