Man’s Proper Happiness

Man’s proper happiness consists in the enjoyment of God; but it is not possible that man should enjoy God with only those things in him which he receives by the first birth.  So that there is this necessity of man’s being born again.

– 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. 56

Obedience, When it Happens, is a Gift

That is the mystery: We must obey the command to rejoice in the Lord, and we cannot, because of our willful and culpable corruption.  Therefore obedience, when it happens, is a gift.  The heretic Pelagius in the fourth century rejected this truth and was shocked and angered when he saw St. Augustine prayed in his Confessions.  Augustine prayed, “Give me the grace [O Lord] to do as you command, and command me to do what you will!…O holy God…when your commands are obeyed, it is from you that we receive the power to obey them.”

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 53

The Problem With Our Ignorance

Ignorance is rooted in hardness, not the other way around.  Therefore we are not excused.  The problem with our ignorance of God’s beauty is not innocent unawareness, but culpable hardness.  Our hardness is our deadness, and our deadness makes us unable to submit to the command, Love the Lord with all your heart.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 50

A Mind So Hostile To God’s Authority

The natural person, the person defined by flesh, but not yet changed by Christ, is so hostile in mind to God’s glorious authority (not submitting to his law) that he cannot delight in God or rejoice in his ways.  He can do many things religious and moral things, but his heart is far from God (Matthew 15:8), and he cannot make himself stop seeing the greatness and authority of God as undesirable.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 49