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My recent blog on the relationship being good and doing good really stirred up some great thinking and comments from you, my dear readers.  You not only thought deeply about the question, you also gave some powerful and pertinent examples of how the “conflict” can play out in daily life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your responses!  You really did what I was hoping to do in this blog, you thought deeply and shared your thoughts.  Please keep up the good work!!  I really appreciate your participation.

For those who were concerned about my personal welfare and what would lead me to pose such a question as “how do we balance being good to ourselves with being good?” I’d like to introduce a term that may either clear up your concerns about me or make you write me off as a total loon.  The term is Christian hedonism.  Here is a brief definition.

Christian Hedonism teaches that the desire to be happy is God-given and should not be denied or resisted but directed to God for satisfaction. Christian Hedonism does not say that whatever you enjoy is good. It says that God has shown you what is good and doing it ought to bring you joy (Micah 6:8). And since doing the will of God ought to bring you joy, the pursuit of joy is an essential part of all moral effort. If you abandon the pursuit of joy (and thus refuse to be a Hedonist, as I use the term), you cannot fulfill the will of God. Christian Hedonism affirms that the godliest saints of every age have discovered no contradiction in saying, on the one hand, “We are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36), and on the other hand, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Christian Hedonism does not join the culture of self-gratification that makes you a slave of your sinful impulses. Christian Hedonism commands that we not be conformed to this age but that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) so we can delight to do the will of our Father in heaven. According to Christian Hedonism joy in God is not optional icing on the cake of Christianity. When you think it through, joy in God is an essential part of saving faith.

I’d love to hear what you think of the concept of Christian hedonism.

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July 2010