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The Importance of Reversing John Piper’s Maxim

Can John Piper’s famous maxim be reversed?

Piper said the chief end of man is “to glorify God by enjoying him forever.”

But what if we said the chief end of man is “enjoy God by glorifying him forever”?

These statements have different meanings. Let me show how they are both true. Piper’s version speaks of God’s purposes for us. God made us so that we could enjoy him and thus bring him glory. There is a means and an end.

Self Interest in Psalm 23

My Self-Interest (in purple)

God’s Self-Interest (in red)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Love of Self?

Wikimedia Commons

A couple days ago I wrote about my bold position on self-interest in the Bible. I gave verses that point to one’s own life as the standard of value. One reader responded with a set of verses that seem to deny self-interest. Today I’ll explain one of them: 2 Timothy 3:2.

“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…”

The verse condemns wicked people for being “lovers of self.”

In light of this verse, should I change my view on self-interest?

Does Rational Self-Interest Mean “Faith for Hire”?

The first step of my philosophical journey was reading The Fountainhead. The novel taught me to uncompromisingly seek my own rational self-interest. If values are personal and selfish, then I must choose them myself. From my smallest choice of personal taste, to my choices in friends or career, I cannot depend on others to set my direction. For every choice I make, I must have a reason.

Being a Christian Individualist

In a post several months ago, I wrote, “Our mission requires self-denial, but we cannot make self-denial be the mission.”

What do you think about this idea?

A friend commented wisely, saying he doesn’t believe American Christians place too much emphasis on self-denial. We pay lip service to self-denial, but we tend to struggle with self-indulgence.

I agree with his points completely. Surprisingly though, I believe the solution to American self-indulgence is not less Individualism, but more.