How to Pursue Joy in God

~adapted from John Piper on How to Fight for Joy in God

1. Meditate on the Word day and night (Psa. 19:8--The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; cf. Jer. 15:16; Psa. 1:3). Read particularly to see the greatness and goodness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 4:4; all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me Matt. 28:17).

As you read the gospels, identify with Jesus and rejoice in his sufficiency:.. E.g., make mental comments such as, "That's my Lord, that's my Christ, that's who thrills me, look at him go! Ooh! did you hear that?!! What an answer! What wisdom! What kindness!"

2. Don't ignore texts that motivate you to fear God (Neh. 1:11 -- delight to fear your name), passages that teach you to fear, to tremble at his power; Jer. 5:22)

3. Learn to preach the sufficiency of God’s promises to yourself daily (Psa. 42; Psa 23:6; no good thing will he withhold – Psa. 84:11; Phil. 4:19; 4:13; Rom. 8:28-29ff).

4. Pray earnestly and continually for all you need to be happy in God. IOUs acronym to help:
Incline my heart to your testimonies (Ps. 119:36)
Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things in your law (Ps. 119:18)
Unite my heart to fear your name (Ps. 86:11)
Satisfy me in the morning with your hesed that I may rejoice and be glad in you all my days (Ps. 90:14)

5. Resolve to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12), resisting sin (Heb. 12:4) and Satan’s allurements (1 Pet. 5:8-9) to substitute other joys for joy in God (Jer. 2:13; 17:13). Faith is the catalyst for joy. It is the ground of God’s granting us joy (Rom. 15:13).

6. Share your faith. Paul’s constant theme is that his converts are his joy and rejoicing (Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19). Quest for Joy tract from Crossway by Piper.

7. Spend time with God-saturated people who will help you see God and fight the fight of faith. (1 Sam. 23:16)

8. Read biographies of great Christian saints (Heb. 11:4 -- though dead yet speaketh; Heb. 12:1)

9. Read great books about God – (Tozer Knowledge of the Holy, The Pursuit of God, J. I. Packer Knowing God, John Piper – Desiring God, The Pleasures of God, God’s Passion for His Glory, When I Don’t Desire God, Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections) Lewis: "For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books more helpful in devotion than the devotional books. ... the heart sings unbidden while working one's way through a tough bit of theology ... and a pencil in the hand."

10. Rest, exercise, and diet properly. We are embodied spirits. -- Be unconscious 1/3 of your life -- God doesn't need you 24/7 and wants you to know you aren't indispensable. Sleep.

11. Make a proper use of revelation in nature (Psa. 19:1-6)

12. Pour yourself out for the poor and afflicted (Isa 58:12).

13. Get a global vision of the magnitude of God's work in building His church. Seeing the great works of God is joy-inspiring (Psa. 92:4)

14. Make good use of hymns that cultivate your satisfaction in God.  E.g., 

William Cowper

    God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.

    Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sov’reign will.

    Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
    In blessings on your head.

    Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust Him for His grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.

    His purposes will ripen fast,
    Unfolding every hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
    But sweet will be the flow’r.

    Blind unbelief is sure to err
    And scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter,
    And He will make it plain.


RETA said…
Great post! Thank you for writing!


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