Second to the Bible, Desiring God by John Piper is the book that probably had the greatest impact on my spiritual growth. I would like to share a few of the reasons with you.
Timing. The season in life in which we cross paths with a particular book is just as important as the content of the book itself. I have often recommended a book to someone who found it lackluster and then I remember how it had perfectly harmonized with the particular season in which I read it.
Timing for me was essential for this book. I do believe the content can stand on its own accord, but it met me at multiple times as a divine appointment. During my college days I began hearing about this book and I even read passages here and there. My curiosity finally won and read through this book. This was a season when I was rediscovering the faith as my own in a way that found relevance to the way I thought about everything.
Timing was everything for me because my life was changing and I was in a season of huge decisions which, I believed, should be informed by the faith of which I spoke. The first time someone reads this book it turns them upside down… but the full impact does not come before read two or three. God used this book along with His Word to give me a basic framework for life as a lover of Jesus.
Timing was everything for my second read of this book as well. I was in my first semester of graduate school and sitting in a class called ‘Worship.’ I was initially surprised that Desiring God was a required read for our worship class. Reading this book again had a significant impact on the way I viewed God and then of course the way I understood worship. God also provided a professor who would become a friend and take the time to journey with me through great conversations about music and worship. His name is Paul Magyar.
Timing was everything for my third read of this book as well. After working at Houston’s First Baptist for a while I met another great man who loved Jesus deeply. His name is Tom Mosley. We began talking together about life and yet it all came back to worship regardless of what aspect of life was under discussion.
Content. Much has been said about the content of this book since it was first published and there is not much that I can add. I will say that the way this book reaches into so many areas of life brought a worldview which had demonstrated relevance not only biblically but practically. A quick glance of the chapters will show the topics: The Happiness of God, Conversion, Worship, Love, Scripture, Prayer, Money, Marriage, Missions, and Suffering. It also contains five appendices which are just as powerful as any aspect of the book.
I have since read it countless other times as I have taken other men through discussions of the great ideas found within. This is transformational because it helps us to understand the person and nature of our God. The deeper we gaze into the person and work of our incredible God, the more we see His transforming power in every single area of our lives. I would highly recommend that anyone read this book at any time in their life. I would also recommend that you read it with someone else and dialogue through it with them. This is a book I look forward to reading with each of my children someday.
Question: Have you read it? Could you share an aspect of the journey that was a blessing to you? Or, maybe you would be willing to share your most influential read in the comments below.