John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life, is a detailed book on Pipers real life experiences as he searched for an answer of the purpose of our life on earth. Piper’s search for answers trails through his father, Christian authors such as C.S Lewis, Harold John Ockenga and Jonathan Edwards just to mention a few, and the Bible. Piper addresses the correct mindset that is necessary for one to live a wholesome life as a good Christian. The book acts as a guide to Christians so that they can refocus on their lives and live according to God’s will and Jesus teachings rather than total preoccupation with achieving earthly success. Piper’s book also acts as a good introduction for non-Christians who have interest in Christianity.
The Purpose of Life
Piper’s prime message is the purpose of human life on this earth. Piper states that there is more to life, than just working towards earning a living and retiring (7). Piper emphasizes that God created us for a greater purpose than the American dream and that people waste their time in search of material things of this world, and fail to discover that living in Jesus Christ leads to eternal gain unlike the short-lived gains of this world (7). Piper reminds us that as Christians our lives are not ours, Jesus Christ bought them at the cost of his death hence Christians belong to God. The purpose of our lives is to glorify God just as the bible states, Glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) (Piper 9). Pursuing God is also pursuing happiness. To confirm this, in Mark 8:35, Jesus said that whoever loses his/her life for his (Jesus) sake will save it. This is a call for us to serve God in our lives, to gain eternal life after death, and this way our lives will not go to waste. God's aim throughout history is to show his glory while God's aim for his people is to delight in him, this two aims are one since they relate to each other. Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions and way of life inspired John Piper and they can inspire us as Christians. Edwards declares that he will serve God with all his might in order to be happy on earth and to secure his place in heaven. He will do anything to please God even if it entails violence against sin as opposed to making peace with sin and going to hell (Piper 29). Delighting in God should not be an option, but as ones passion in life (30). The solution to avoid wasting life is living a single, soul satisfying passion for the greatness of God in all things (43)
Source of information
Piper notes that the current loss of focus in our Christian lives is because of our pre-occupation with earthly achievements such as studying, employment, acquiring wealth and retiring. Other factors that have contributed to the loss of focus include a philosophy such as existentialism, which states that you create your own belief and believe in it (14). Piper also mentions of the influence of existentialism in media and art in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot play, which hints that people create non-existent things that will eventually amount to nothing, and the Beatles song Nowhere Man (15). Despite all the information and changes taking place in the world, the Bible is a source of information that is reliable since God inspired men to write the Bible, therefore the Bible is the best source for God's message to us, it is also the best source of information on which life is wasted and which life is worth living. All parts of the scripture are interrelated, when reading the Bible it is important to seek the interrelations of the verses for coherence in interpreting the Bible (27).
Glorification of God
Since God loves us, he gave us the best by offering of his son that we may have eternal life as written in John 3:16. Eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ, his son. God-in-Christ is the one true God and it is important to be specific since we are in a pluralist society. Piper stresses that God without Christ is not God and hence this god cannot satisfy or save the soul, following such a god would lead to wasted life (38). The glory of God does not exist in the creatures that understand his perfection, for they might understand, but take no delight in it, nor does the glory of God come through speaking of his perfection, for words are simple expressions of the mind (30). The glory of God exists in the creature that admires, rejoices and exult the manifestation of God’s excellence and beauty (30). God’s glorification by sinners takes place only through the glorification Jesus Christ, his son, only then shall we experience the joy of God's presence, and the pleasures at God's right hand (39). That is the truth; any other approach towards God is an incineration (49).
Piper, John. Don’t Waste Your Life. Crossway Books. (2003). Text