Desiring God by John Piper. The first time I read this book, I was in seminary. Honestly, I wanted to throw this book across the room and never finish reading it. It just didn't sound right. But the more I read it and patiently looked up the Scriptures and wrestled through what Piper wrote, the more I came to agree and joyfully rejoice with his premises in this book.
The basis of his arguments in Desiring God are found in the introduction and first chapter. Piper is famous for changing one word in the famous saying "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Piper says that it would be more accurate to say "The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever." He says that we glorify God when we enjoy Him.
He says, "God is not worshiped where He is not treasured and enjoyed. Praise is not an alternative to joy, but the expression of joy. Not to enjoy God is to dishonor Him. To say to Him that something else satisfies you more is the opposite of worship. It is sacrilege" (22). I can't tell you how much this has shaped my Christian life and my ministry. Jesus has become the treasure of my heart. I worship God when I treasure Him more than anything this world has to offer.
Of course, our enjoying God is rooted and found in the fact of God enjoying Himself. This is initially where I wanted to throw the book across the room, for it seemed so selfish. He says "The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever" (31). But think about it. For God to say that there is something else more worthy than Him to glorify and worship would be idolatry. From God! He says, "My conclusion is that God's own glory is uppermost in His own affections. In everything He does. His purpose is to preserve and display that glory. To say that His own glory is uppermost in His own affections means that He puts a greater value on it than on anything else. He delights in His glory above all things" (41-2).
I do not want to trick you to tell you that this is an easy book to read. It is hard. It will stretch your thinking. You will find yourself reading paragraphs over and over to catch what he is really trying to say. But if you can do it. If you can really grasp what He is saying, I think your life will never be the same. And if you can make it all the way to chapter two, "Conversion: The Creation of a Christian Hedonist" your outlook on everything will change.
It is THE book that has influenced me more than any other one. I hope someday you will get a chance to be influenced by it as well! Thanks for reading.