This is the Essence of Evil

So preferring the pleasures of money or power or fame or sex over the “pleasures at [God’s] right hand” (Psalm 16:11) is not like preferring caramel to hot fudge.  It is a great evil, indeed it is the ultimate meaning of evil.  Esteeming God less than anything is the essence of evil.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 34

Leaving The Pleasures of this World for a Life of Sacrifice

But our calling here is to fight for joy – our’s and the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.  The aim is that God’s worth – his infinite desireabilty – be known and prized and praised in all the world.  This is what we mean by God being glorified.  He is most glorified in and through his people when we are most satisfied in him.  The intensity of our pleasure and our desire bear witness of his worth to the world, especially when we are freed by this (present and hoped for) pleasure to leave the pleasures of this world for a life of sacrifice and love for others.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 29

Desire For and Delight in God’s Word Are Inseparable

Yes, the Word of God is desired sometimes because it is not present and we would like to read it or hear it.  But it is also true that when it is present and enjoyed, there is also in that very moment a desire for more of the Word and for a fuller understanding and enjoyment of the Word.  And even when the Word is absent, the desire for it is also a form of delight in it.  There is delight by memory and a delight by anticipation.  So desire for and delight in God’s Word are inseparable.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 27

God, Our All-Satisfying Portion

One of the most remarkable expressions of delighting or rejoicing in God is found in Habakkuk 3:17-18.  My wife Noel and I used this in our wedding ceremony to express our expectation that life would be hard, but that God would be our all-satisfying portion.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 25

The Key is not Willpower but Deep, Unshakable Confidence.

The fight for joy in Christ is not a fight to soften the cushion of Western comforts.  It is a fight for strength to live a life of self-sacrificing love.  It is a fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road and stay there with him, no matter what.  How was he sustained on that road? [see Hebrews 12:2]  The key to endurance in the cause of self-sacrificing love is not heroic willpower, but deep, unshakable confidence that the joy we havetasted in fellowship with Christ will not disappoint us in death.  Sacrifices in the path of love were sustained in the New Testament not by willpower, but by joyful hope (Hebrews 10:34).

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 21

It Is Really a Question About Persecution

When I address the question, “What should I do if I don’t desire God?” I am addressing this question: “How can I obtain or recover a joy in Christ that is so deep and so strong that it will free me from bondage to Western comforts and security, and will impel me into sacrifices of mercy and missions, and will sustain me in the face of martyrdom?”  Persecution is normal for Christians (II Timothy 3:12; I Peter 4:12; Acts 14:22).

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 20

Pleasures are Shafts of Glory

Pleasures are shafts of glory as it strikes our sensibility…But aren’t there bad, unlawful pleasures?  Certainly there are.  But in calling them “bad pleasures” I take it we are using a kind of shorthand.  We mean “pleasures snatched by unlawful acts.”  It is the stealing of the bad apples that is bad, not the sweetness.  The sweetness is still a beam from the glory…I have tried since…to make every pleasure into a channel of adoration.  I don’t mean simply by giving thanks for it.  One must of course give thanks, but I meant something different…Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.”  Adoration says, “What must be the quality of that Being whose far off and momentary coruscations are like this!”  One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun…If this is Hedonism, it is also a somewhat arduous discipline.  But it is worth some labor.

C.S. Lewis

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 18

There Is No Virtue in Temperance In Spiritual Feasting

Our hungerings and thirstings after God and Jesus Christ and after holiness can’t be too great for the value of these things, for they are things of infinite value…[Therefore] endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by laying your self in the way of allurement…There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food.  There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting

– Jonathan Edwards

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 17

What Encouragement Would it Be?

Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, You will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away?  So, for God to say, Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified.

Thomas Watson

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 17

The Chief Activity of the Soul

If human happiness, whose perfection it is to be united with God, were hidden from man, he would in fact be bereft of the principal use of his understanding.  Thus, also the chief activity of the soul is to aspire tither.  Hence, the more anyone endeavors to approach to God, the more he proves himself endowed with reason.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 16