People don’t like the word hedonism. There are a lot of negative connotations with the word. It’s often associated with someone who pursues pleasure above all else — a glutton with disregard for anything or anyone else other than what makes themselves feel good. And there’s some foundation for understanding hedonism this way.
Hedonism is defined as the pursuit of pleasure or sensual self-indulgence.
Sounds pretty bad, huh?
Well, there is another way of looking at hedonism. A healthier way.
Hedonism and God
The standard definition of hedonism doesn’t sound very good, but the philosophical definition can help us understand hedonism better:
“The ethical theory that pleasure or satisfying one’s desires is the highest good and aim of life.”
This sounds a little bit better, especially if you’re a Christian. That’s because we know that God is the ultimate good, therefore he is himself a form of hedonism. He is the highest good and the ultimate source of pleasure and satisfaction in life.
The desires of Christian hedonism
Christians should be hedonists. No, not the self-indulging, gluttonous kind as the first definition describes, but the God-centered, God-pursuing kind. When we strive to be hedonists in God, we strive to be people who find all our joy and satisfaction in Him. This might sound a little crazy to you if you’re not a Christian, but the desires of being a hedonist in God are desires anyone likes, such as:
- To be loved — Keep in mind, this says to be loved not to be liked. The desire to be liked and popular often creates poor self-esteem and sends people down unhealthy paths. The desire to be loved though is a good thing. Love is a driving force of life that shouldn’t be denied to anyone.
- To have rest — God created the Sabbath for a reason. He knows we can push ourselves too hard or get too wrapped up in our lives, which causes us to lose sight of the bigger picture. God wants us to rest. In rest, we can recover and learn more about ourselves.
And, we can grow closer to Him. When we pause and listen for God’s voice, He can reveal deep and powerful truths to us.
- To love others better — When you are able to find satisfaction in God, you can find better satisfaction in yourself. When you find better satisfaction in yourself, you are better able to love others.
One of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you accept yourself, respect yourself, reject perfectionism and avoid comparing yourself to others, you’ll find a lot of Grace for yourself that God wants you to see. And, when you have this kind of Grace, it’s effortless to share it with others.
Not being easily satisfied leads to better satisfaction
The world wants us to be satisfied with menial entertainment and distractions. We’re not saying it’s wrong to enjoy a movie or play a game every once and awhile, but you do have to recognize that there can be no true and lasting satisfaction from these things. Only God can give you true satisfaction.
At Unfiltered Radio, we try to be hedonists in God. We know that by placing our satisfaction in Him, we can have something real and everlasting.