Every Need We Have, He Supplies

But we are not without a Savior, Jesus Christ has come.  And he is a great Savior.  Every need we have, he supplies.  And his death on the cross is the price that purchases every gift that leads to deep and lasting joy.

  • Is there wrath and curse hanging over us? (Galatians 3:13)
  • Is there condemnation against us in the courtroom of heaven? (Romans 8:33-34)
  • Are there innumerable trespasses mounting up against us? (Ephesians 1:7)
  • Is righteousness required that we cannot produce? (II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:19)
  • Are we cut off from eternal life? (John 3:16)
  • Are we trapped in the dominion of sin that ruins our lives? (I Peter 2:24; II Corinthians 5:15)
  • Will all the follies and failures of our past drag us down with irrevocable, destructive consequences?  (Romans 8:28)
  • Have we lost all the good things God planned for his Children? (Romans 8:32)
  • Is there any hope that sinners like us could spend an all-satisfying eternity with God?  Can I ever come home to God? (I Peter 3:18)

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 73-74

The Foundation of Joy

Nothing is more foundational for the joy of undeserving people than the cross of Jesus Christ.  The fight for joy is a fight to grasp and marvel at what happened in the death of Christ – and what it reveals about our suffering Savior.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 71

We Must Remember, It Is Not Ours…

I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, not yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today and forever.”  Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed.  I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God [about the unforgivable sin] left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

– John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 70

The Difference Between Rational Judgment and Senses

There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness…So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of his beauty.  The former may be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance….When the heart is sensible of the beauty and amiableness of a thing, it necessarily feels pleasure in the apprehension.  It is implied in a person’s being heartily sensible of the loveliness of a thing, that the idea of it is sweet and pleasant to the soul.

– 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. 68-69

Somethings Can Only Be Understood Through Experience

There are some things, especially in the depths of the religious life, which can only be understood by being experienced, and which even then are incapable of being adequately embodied in words, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”  The enjoyment must come before the illumination or rather the enjoyment is the illumination.  There are things that must be loved before we can know them to be worthy or our love.

– Thomas Binney reflecting on Psalm 34:8

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 68

That is a Great Honor to Christ

This will satisfy our hearts and glorify his worth.  That is what it means to be loved by Christ.  He prays for what is eternally satisfying to us and eternally glorifying to him.  Seeing his glory forever is the greatest gift he can give to us.  Therefore praying and dying that we might have this gift is love.  Resolving to fight with all our might that we might see what he died to show – that is a great honor to Christ.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 64

This is the Most Foundational Strategy

What is this internal change that comes from “beholding the glory of God?”

It is the awakening of joy in Christ himself  and all that God is for us in him.  It is the awakening of a new taste of spiritual reality centering in Christ.  It is the capacity for a new sweetness and a new enjoyment of the glory of God in the Word of God.  Therefore, nothing is more important for us in life than to “behold the glory of the Lord.”  Satan, as Paul says (II Corinthians 4:4), uses all his devices to keep us from seeing “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.”   This is the most foundational strategy in the battle for joy – the strategic battle to see.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 66

But Seeing the Glory of God is Not Our Ultimate Aim

But seeing the glory of God is not our ultimate aim.  Our ultimate aim is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.  If seeing did not produce savoring, God would not be glorified by our seeing.  Therefore the final goal in our hearts is the enjoyment of the glory of God, not just the seeing.  And the final goal in the universe is the fullest possible display of the glory of God.  That fullness comes to pass not only but mainly through the white-hot, joy-permeated worship of his people as they exult in the glory of his Son.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 65-66

Hearing is the Primary Way of Seeing in this Age

This is what we want as human beings:  We want a revelation of God himself.  We want to say with Moses “Show us your glory.”  And indeed a time is coming when the “glory that is to be revealed to us” will make all “the sufferings of this present time” seem as nothing (Romans 8:18).  But for now, in this age, God has ordained that primarily he reveals his glory to us “by the word of the Lord.”  Hearing is the primary way of seeing in this age.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 64-65

The Glory of God is More Ultimate than the Word of God

The glory of God is more ultimate than the Word of God.  And so seeing is more ultimate than hearing.  Nevertheless the glory of God does not come to us in a saving way except through the Word of God.  Therefore, seeing the glory does not happen except through hearing the gospel.  Word corresponds to hearing, and glory corresponds to seeing.  Ultimately God has spoken in order to reveal his glory for the enjoyment of his people.  Therefore we must hear what he says in order to see what he reveals.  The Bible does not speak of hearing the glory of God, but seeing it.  Hearing is the means.  Seeing is the goal.  The aim of all our hearing of God’s truth is the seeing of God’s glory.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 65