David Was a Christian Hedonist

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Image of the words "Christian Hedonist"

Today’s Bible reading* includes Psalm 63 which was written when David was in the desert of Judah. As he was in a dry and weary land, he was reminded of how he was more thirsty for God than for water. (Psalm 63:1) He realized that God satisfies more than the best of foods. (Psalm 63:5) As David laid awake at night, he praised God. (Psalm 63:6) Finally, he committed to staying close to God, knowing he would always be safe when he was walking close to God. (Psalm 36:7-8) In a word, David was a convinced Christian Hedonist, a term coined by John Piper.

You may not like the term, Christian Hedonist. After all, most of the time when we talk about hedonism, we think of someone who indulges in physical pleasures such as illicit sex, drugs, drunkenness, gluttony, etc. The Greek word behind hedonism means pleasure. Pure and simple., a hedonist is someone who seeks pleasure. And those physical pleasures are the quickest and easiest places to find satisfaction.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”[1]

While someone living in a desert would crave the pleasures of water, David was thirsty for God.
While someone living in a desert would crave the pleasures of rich foods, David saw that God satisfied his hunger.
While someone suffering from insomnia would crave the pleasures of sleep, David praised God through the night watches. (in other words, all night long)

While the run of the mill hedonist may desire sensual things, the Christian Hedonist craves Jesus Christ and finds all of his satisfaction in Him. John Piper says that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

Application

It’s true! If God is the Great Physician, we fall short of bringing God glory when we don’t ask Him for healing. If God is the Giver of all good things, we fall short of bringing God glory when don’t ask for Him to provide. If God gives His people strength for the battle, we fall short of bringing God glory when we don’t ask Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Steep your life in
God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Matthew 6:33 (The Message)

[1] C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Psalms 35
Psalms 54
Psalms 63
Psalms 18