What do you do when you discover that you're not satisfied in God the way he wants you to be? Joy is more than an afterthought of the Christian life; it is the sustaining fruit of a relationship with God. With a radical passion for Christ's glory, John Piper helps you find the joy God wants you to have.
It's liberating because it endorses our inborn desire for joy. And it's devastating because it reveals that we don't desire God the way we should. What do you do when you discover the good news that God wants you to be content in him, but then find that you aren't?
If joy in God were merely the icing on the cake of Christian commitment, this book would be insignificant. But Piper argues that joy is so much more. Our being satisfied in God is necessary to show God's worthiness and to sustain sacrifices of love.
Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. He tasted it. It sustained him through the deepest suffering. His Father was glorified. His people were saved. That is what joy in God does.
The absolutely urgent question becomes: What can I do if I don't have it? With a pastor's heart and with radical passion for the glory of Christ, John Piper helps you answer that question.
Beginning this book, there was a familiarity to it. It is basically exactly the same as Desiring God. The same principle of Christian hedonism which I can't find in Scripture, the same emotionalism and the same repetitions. The title is obviously different and maybe the author is coming at the subject from a different angle, but the material is the same. I feel cheated out of my 50p!
I know there are a lot of Piper fans out there and I have read a few of his earlier books which were quite helpful. I don't, however, recommend this or the prequel.
This book is classic Piper; he's singing the same tune: "...God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him" (pg. 19). The first half of the book is largely foundational and philosophical while the latter portion is immensely practical. For example, we all know that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, so why is Piper writing a whole book about fighting for joy? I'll let him answer:
"The apostle Paul said, "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed" (1 Cor. 16:22). Love is not a mere choice to move the body or the brain. Love is also an experience of the heart. So the stakes are very high. Christ is to be cherished, not just chosen. The alternative is to be cursed. Therefore life is serious. And so is this book" (pg. 19).
As for the practical, there's nothing essentially new here: we fight for joy mainly through God's Word and prayer. However, Piper does have many helpful insights as to how the Word and prayer help us in our fight for joy and how to use them to this end. As usual, Piper says many thought-provoking things making this a book in which you’ll likely want to spend some time. I’ll leave you with a quote that was meaningful to me in my situation; may it whet your appetite.
“The fight for joy always involves both [prayer and meditation]. Prayer without meditation on the Word of God will disintegrate into humanistic spirituality. It will simply reflect our own fallen ideas and feelings—not God’s. And meditation, without the humility of desperate prayer, will create proud legalism or hopeless despair.
Without prayer we try to fulfill the Word in our own strength and think we are succeeding and so become proud Pharisees; or we will realize we are not succeeding and will give up in despair” (pg. 149).