- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: Crossway Books (21 September 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781581346527
- ISBN-13: 978-1581346527
- ASIN: 1581346522
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
When I Don't Desire God: How To Fight For Joy Paperback – 21 Sep 2004
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About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Dont Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
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The primary means that God uses to awaken joy are the Word, Prayer and the World. Piper devotes two chapters to the Word of God (one to show its worth and the other to show practical ways in using the Word to fight for joy), two chapters to Prayer (it's focus and its practice) and one chapter on using the world to see the glory of God, thus enhancing our joy. He ends with a chapter on practical things to do when the darkness doesn't just go away. Here are some of the highlights of the book:
First, how do we practically wield the Word of God in our fight for joy? He suggests several strategies: 1) By reading the Bible with a plan & with regularity. 2) By memorizing verses, paragraphs, chapters and even whole books of the Bible. 3) By meditating on the Word day and night (literally muttering in the heart with regularity) 4) By exposing ourselves to Bible-saturated people - both the living and the dead 5) By being a responsible member of a local church (because the Word is a "community treasure", and God strengthens our joy through loving community). 6) By reading Christian biography ("you get to see a person fight for joy over a lifetime") 7) By reading great books of Bible doctrine. I will let Piper speak on this last point (for those who struggle with weighty doctrinal books): 'I would challenge you to throw off the notion that weighty books of doctrine are joy-squelching, while light devotional books are joy-producing. It's true that the joy of serious reading and the thinking that goes with it (sometimes called study) may not be as immediate as the joy of singing in church, or seeing a sunset, or talking with a friend, or hearing a preacher with lots of stories. But the payload for joy may be greater. Raking is easier than digging, but you only get leaves. If you dig, you may get diamonds'
Next, how does the practice of consistent prayer help us in our fight for joy? According to Piper, "Praying without ceasing" (praying with a spirit of dependence, praying over and over/often, not giving up on prayer) is the key to maintaining joy in God and His Word. He then moves on to the practical aspect of setting a time, place and method of prayer (the main method being praying the Word of God, much like method of the prayerful George Muller). He also mentions fasting and having other people pray with you and for you as other strategies in our fight for joy in prayer.
Finally, how do we wield the world in our fight for joy? It is not just the Word of God that helps us see the glory of God (thus producing joy in us) but also the physical world around us. All our senses become partners with the heart's eyes to see the glory of God through the created world. He then talks about how both the indirect use and direct use of the physical world helps us in our fight for joy. He writes rather persuasively, "The indirect use is when we take steps to keep our bodies and minds as fit as we can for spiritual use...The direct use of the physical world in our fight for joy may be a trip to the Grand Canyon, or rising early enough to see a sunrise, or attending a symphony, or reading a historical novel, or studying physics, or memorizing a poem, or swimming in the ocean, or eating a fresh pineapple, or smelling a gardenia blossom, or putting your hand through your wife’s hair, or watching Olympic gymnastics finals". This was the best chapter in the book according to me. His final chapter on fighting for joy in the midst of persistent suffering is worth the price of the book as well.
All in all, I found this book to be a demanding read (not just because of Piper's 'sometimes humdrum' writing style but also - positively - because of his profundity of thought and imagination). John Piper doesn't usually disappoint with his books and this book is no exception. But be prepared to dig to get the diamonds! I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you in your fight for joy in God!
This book delves into a struggle I have. I know I should desire God above all else...but frankly, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't even want to. The best I can say during these dark times is that I want to want to...
"When I Don't Desire God" has helped me see my Desiring God in a bit of a different light and helped me in my struggle to fight for joy.
Warning: John Piper is not an easy read. It's a commitment all its own just to finish his books. Very thick, very meaty.