I don’t buy books often (I prefer borrowing), but I went out and bought two books on joy/hope last month…because I have been struggling. Simple as that. I am gradually learning not to despair at problems, but to target them specifically with purposeful action and combat them with Truth. So putting in practice the habits of a self-feeder, off I went…
I was incredibly blessed. Piper writes that joy is not in the power of the will the way physical motion is, and yet he links the intentionality of the fight to the spontaneity of joy…
Some insights I gained (many are direct quotes):
- Joyfulness is not just there (ie passive), it has to be fought for at times (active)! Do not surrender to the victim mentality. Preach to yourself and exhort yourself to rejoice in the Lord. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him!
- Raking is easier than digging, but you only get leaves. If you dig you may get diamonds. *bling*
- There are eyes in pencils and pens. Writing and taking notes while reading the Bible helps open our eyes to truths we miss in passive/rushed reading.
- The key to endurance in the cause of self-sacrificing love is not heroic willpower, but deep, unshakable confidence that the joy we have tasted in fellowship with Christ will not disappoint us in death.
- If your longing is to be spontaneous in the way you commune with God, then build discipline into your Bible reading and prayer. The rich fruit of spontaneity grows in the garden that is well tended by the discipline of schedule.
- Praying for joy is not the emotional pampering of joyless people. It is preparation for sacrifice.
A very helpful book in this season of my life – praise God.