When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper
WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK
1. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain. (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 145.
2. Aurelius Augustine, Confessions, trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin (New York:
Penguin, 1961), 152 (VII.17).
3. John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, 3rd ed.
(Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 2003). This is the book in which Christian
Hedonism, as I understand it, is most fully developed.
4. Augustine, Confessions, 181 (IX.1), emphasis added.
5. John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T.
McNeill (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 192-193 (I.15.6).
6. Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity (1692; repr. Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Baker, 1979), 10.
7. Quoted from an unpublished sermon, “Sacrament Sermon on Canticles
5:1” (circa 1729), edited version by Kenneth Minkema in association
with The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale University.
8. Jonathan Edwards, “The Spiritual Blessings of the Gospel Represented
by a Feast,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 17, Sermons and
Discourses, 1723-1729, ed. Kenneth P. Minkema (New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, 1996), 286.
9. Charles Hodge, “The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus Our
Lord,” in Princeton Sermons: Outlines of Discourses, Doctrinal and
Practical (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, 1870),
10. Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (1930; repr. Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Eerdmans, 1966), 71, emphasis added.
11. For more on this, see Chapter 11.
12. C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1963), 89-90.
13. This is an excerpt from a letter to “Joan,” a child who wrote him on
July 18, 1957, in C. S. Lewis: Letters to Children, ed. Lyle W. Dorsett
and Marjorie Lamp Mead (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 276.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DESIRE
1. C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and
World, 1956), Book 1, Chapter 7.
2. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World,
3. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, The
Religious Affections, ed. John E. Smith (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1959), 266-267.
4. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 218, 220-221.
5. Jeremy Taylor, quoted in C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald: An
Anthology (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946), 19.
THE CALL TO FIGHT FOR JOY IN GOD
1. Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being, ed. Sally Fitzgerald (New
York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1979), 126.
2. Lest it appear that we have created an artificial paradox here, take note
that there are others like it in the Bible. This paradox is woven into the
very fabric of biblical revelation: We are responsible creatures (and
therefore God commands); and God is sovereign (and therefore he gives
what he commands). Neither his sovereignty nor our responsibility
cancels out the other. Consider these examples:
Responsibility: Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise . . . your heart.”
Gift: Deuteronomy 30:6, “The Lord your God will circumcise your
Responsibility: Ezekiel 18:31, “Make yourselves a new heart and a new
Gift: Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will
put within you.”
236 = Notes from pages 18 – 40
Responsibility: Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.”
Gift: Ephesians 2:8 “You have been saved through faith . . . it is the gift
Responsibility: Acts 2:38, “Repent.”
Gift: 2 Timothy 2:25, “God may perhaps grant them repentance.”
Responsibility: John 3:7, “You must be born again.”
Gift: John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes. . . . So it is with
everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
3. Georg Neumark, “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee” (1641).
4. Karolina W. Sandell-Berg, “Day by Day” (1855), trans. Andrew L. Skoog.
JOY IN GOD IS A GIFT OF GOD
1. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World,
2. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, 6
vols. (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming Revell Company, n.d.), 6:744.
3. N. P. Williams, The Ideas of the Fall and of Original Sin (1926), cited
in Edward T. Oakes, “Original Sin: A Disputation,” First Things 87
(November 1998): 24.
4. Aurelius Augustine, Confessions, trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin (London:
Penguin Books, 1961), 236 (X.31).
THE FIGHT FOR JOY IS A FIGHT TO SEE
1. Jonathan Edwards, “Born Again,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards,
vol. 17, Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733, ed. Mark Valeri (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999), 192.
2. Quoted from Jonathan Edwards, The End for Which God Created the
World, in John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision
of Jonathan Edwards (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998), 242.
3. I have argued extensively from the Scriptures for this truth in several
other places. See Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist,
3rd ed. (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 2003), 308-320; Let the Nations Be
Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids,
Mich.: Baker, 2003), 21-28.
Notes from pages 43 – 59 < 237
4. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 13, The
“Miscellanies,” a-500, ed. Thomas Schafer (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1994), 495. For Edwards’s extended development of
this truth see The End for Which God Created the World, in Piper,
God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards,
5. Edwards, in God’s Passion for His Glory, 247.
6. Jonathan Edwards, “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” in The Works
of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 17, 413.
7. Ibid., 413.
8. Quoted from Thomas Binney’s “Sermons,” in Charles Haddon
Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, 3 vols. (Mclean, Va.: Macdonald
Publishing Company, n.d.), 1:131, emphasis added. Thomas Binney
(1798-1874) was an English Congregationalist pastor and hymnwriter.
9. Edwards, “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” 414.
FIGHTING FOR JOY LIKE A JUSTIFIED SINNER
1. John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (Hertfordshire:
The Evangelical Press, 1978), 90-91.
2. For an explanation of why our joy will be ever-increasing, see John
Piper, “Can Joy Increase Forever? Meditation on Ephesians 4:29 and
5:4,” A Godward Life, Book Two (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 1999),
3. Christopher Catherwood, Five Evangelical Leaders (Wheaton, Ill.:
Harold Shaw Publishers, 1985), 170-171. Interested readers can visit the
Martyn Lloyd-Jones Trust Recordings website (http://www.mlj.org.uk/)
to listen to the audio sermons online.
4. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 13, The
“Miscellanies,” a-500, ed. Thomas Schafer (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1994), 495, Miscellany #448; see also #87, 251-252;
Because [God] infinitely values his own glory, consisting in the
knowledge of himself, love to himself, [that is,] complacence
[contentment] and joy in himself; he therefore valued the image,
238 = Notes from pages 59 – 80
communication or participation of these, in the creature. And it
is because he values himself, that he delights in the knowledge,
and love, and joy of the creature; as being himself the object of
this knowledge, love and complacence. . . [Thus] God’s respect
to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a
divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of
the creature aimed at, is happiness in union with himself.
(Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the
World, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Paul Ramsey,
8:532-533, emphasis added)
5. Jonathan Edwards, “Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival,” in The
Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 4, The Great Awakening, ed. C. Goen
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972), 387.
6. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1965), 5, 11-12.
7. Ibid., 20.
8. Ibid., 21.
9. The historic Westminster Confession of Faith expresses well how faith
alone justifies but is never alone and always gives rise to love.
Those whom God effectually calleth He also freely justifieth; not
by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins,
and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous: not
for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s
sake alone: nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or
any other evangelical obedience, to them as their righteousness;
but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto
them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness,
by faith: which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of
Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His
righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet is it not
alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all
other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
10. Andrew Thomson, “Life of Dr. Owen,” in The Works of John Owen,
ed. W. H. Goold, 24 vols. (1850-1853; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of
Truth, 1965), 1:XCII.
Notes from pages 80 – 86 < 239
11. John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (Hertfordshire,
England: Evangelical Press, 1978), 55-59.
12. Ibid., 90-91.
13. John Dillenberger, ed., Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings
(Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1961), 11-12.
14. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (1937; repr.: New York:
The Macmillan Co., 1949), 47, 55, 57.
15. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004.
16. Jim Elliot, quoted in Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life
and Testament of Jim Elliot (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958), 19.
THE WORTH OF GOD’S WORD IN THE FIGHT FOR JOY
1. John Owen, On Indwelling Sin in Believers, in The Works of John
Owen, ed. W. H. Goold, 24 vols. (1850-1853; repr. Edinburgh: Banner
of Truth, 1967) 6:250-251.
2. See Chapter Five for a fuller discussion of the relationship between
seeing the glory of God and hearing the Word of God.
3. Edward Welch, “Self-Control: The Battle Against ‘One More,’” The
Journal of Biblical Counseling 19 (Winter 2001): 30.
4. Jonathan Edwards, “The Pleasantness of Religion,” in The Sermons of
Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth
Minkema, and Douglas A. Sweeney (New Haven, Conn: Yale
University Press, 1999), 23-24.
5. There are two different words for “blessed” in the New Testament.
Eulogetos usually means “praised,” while makarios—used in the
Beatitudes of Matthew 5—means “happy” or “fortunate.” Paul
himself uses it in other places to refer to the happiness of the person
whose sins are forgiven (Rom. 4:7) or the person whose conscience is
clear (Rom. 14:22).
6. I have tried to show how this battle is fought in The Purifying Power of
Living by Faith in FUTURE GRACE (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 1995).
7. John Owen, Mortification of Sin in Believers, in The Works of John
8. John Owen, On Indwelling Sin in Believers, in The Works of John
Owen, 6:250-251, emphasis added.
240 = Notes from pages 86 – 106
9. See above in this chapter where I compared Colossians 3:16, which
speaks of the word of Christ dwelling richly in us, and Ephesians 5:18-
19, which speaks of the Spirit dwelling in us. The parallel is similar to
what we are seeing here in John 15:5, 7.
HOW TO WIELD THE WORD IN THE FIGHT FOR JOY
1. John Wesley, “Preface to Sermons on Several Occasions, 1746,” The
Works of John Wesley, vol. 1, 104-106.
2. Quoted in John R. Stott, The Preacher’s Portrait (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Eerdmans, 1961), 30-31.
3. For further thoughts on why the early morning is best, see Chapter Ten.
4. This plan can be downloaded from the NavPress website at http://www.
5. See, for example, several plans at Back to the Bible (http://www.backto
thebible.org/devotions/journey/). Some ministries will email you the
reading for the day (http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html). I
suggest that you simply type “Bible Reading Plans” into your Internet
search engine and find the one suited best to your needs. Another plan
to consider is the M’Cheyne Reading Plan, which guides you through
the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament
once. It can be found—with insightful commentary—in D. A. Carson,
For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches
of God’s Word, 2 vols. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998-1999).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average person has about a
twenty-five-minute commute to work (http://www.census.gov/acs/
www/Products/Ranking/2002/R04T040.htm). If that means that people
spend on average fifty minutes in the car each workday, then the entire
Bible on CD could be listened to during that time in three months. One
edition completes the reading of the Bible in seventy-two hours. This
could have a profound effect on the mind for the glory of Christ and the
joy of the listener.
6. George Mueller, A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealing with
George Muller, Written by Himself, Jehovah Magnified. Addresses by
George Muller Complete and Unabridged, 2 vols. (Muskegon, Mich.:
Dust and Ashes, 2003), 1:646.
Notes from pages 107 – 118 < 241
7. Ibid., 2:732.
8. Ibid., 2:740.
9. Ibid., 2:834.
10. Ibid., 1:271.
11. Ibid., 1:272-273.
12. Dallas Willard, “Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and
the Whole Person,” in Vocatio 12 (Spring 2001): 7.
13. “[Bunyan] had studied our Authorized Version . . . till his whole being
was saturated with Scripture; and . . . his writings . . . continually make
us feel and say, ‘Why, this man is a living Bible!’ Prick him anywhere;
and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible
flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is
full of the Word of God.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Autobiography,
ed. Susannah Spurgeon and Joseph Harrald, 2 vols. (1897-1900; repr.
Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1973), 2:159.
14. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, ed. Barry Horner (North
Brunswick, N.J., 1997), 72.
15. John Brown, John Bunyan: His Life, Times, and Work (London: The
Hulbert Publishing Co., 1928), 364.
16. One way would be to use the Fighter Verse program developed at our
church. See it at http://www.desiringgod.org/fighterverses, or call
888-346-4700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 888-346-4700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting .
17. You can read the whole booklet at http://www.fbcdurham.org, under
the Writings link.
18. Davis puts a very heavy stress on saying the verse chapter and numbers
with each verse when you memorize long passages. He has good reasons.
Take them seriously, and make your own decision. I do not say the verse
numbers before each verse when I memorize a paragraph or a chapter. One
reason is that I want to be able to recite the words in times of ministry and
devotion and worship when verse numbers would sound very artificial and
be distracting for others (as they are for me) in the flow of the passage.
19. Wesley L. Duewel, Let God Guide You Daily (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
Francis Asbury Press, 1988), 77.
20. Thomas Goodwin, “The Vanity of Thoughts,” in The Works of
Thomas Goodwin, 12 vols. (Eureka, Calif.: Tanski Publications),
242 = Notes from pages 118 – 127
21. C. S. Lewis, “On the Reading of Old Books,” in God in the Dock
(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1970), 205.
22. Ibid., 200.
23. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical
Doctrine (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1994).
24. You can find a line of Puritan Classics that are being republished today
by checking The Banner of Truth Trust (P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, PA
17013; phone: 717-249-5747 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 717-249-5747 end_of_the_skype_highlighting ; www.BannerofTruth.org).
25. Michael S. Horton, “What Still Keeps Us Apart?” in Roman
Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites
Us, ed. John H. Armstrong (Chicago: Moody, 1994), 253.
26. C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt Brace and World,
27. John Piper, God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan
Edwards (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998).
28. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 16, Letters
and Personal Writings, ed. George S. Claghorn (New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, 1998), 753-755.
29. Ibid., 801.
30. Quoted in Ewald M. Plass, comp., What Luther Says: An Anthology in
Three Volumes (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), 3:1360.
31. Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil (New
York: Doubleday, 1992), 323.
THE FOCUS OF PRAYER IN THE FIGHT FOR JOY
1. Anselm, Proslogion, Chapter 26.
2. E. G. Rupp and Benjamin Drewery, eds., Martin Luther: Documents of
Modern History (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1970), 72-73.
3. B. B. Warfield, “Is the Shorter Catechism Worth While?” in Selected
Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, ed. John E. Meeter, 2 vols.
(Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R, 1980), 1:382-383.
4. J. I. Packer, My Path of Prayer, ed. David Hanes (Worthing, West
Sussex: Henry E. Walter, 1981), 56.
5. See John Piper, The Dangerous Duty of Delight (Sisters, Ore.:
Notes from pages 127 – 140 < 243
Multnomah, 2001) for a fuller explanation of how the pursuit of and
prayer for joy is dangerous.
6. See Chapter 12 where I discuss how to act against your feelings in a way
that is not hypocritical or legalistic. The key is never to say that feelings
don’t matter. They do. You may have to act when they are missing, but
the aim in all our acting and praying is that they return.
7. St. Augustine, Confessions, in Documents of the Christian Church, ed.
Henry Bettenson (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), 54.
8. Robert Robinson, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (1758).
9. George Croly, “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart” (1854).
THE PRACTICE OF PRAYER IN THE FIGHT FOR JOY
1. Autobiography of George Müller, comp. Fred Bergen (London:
J. Nisbet Co., 1906), 152-154.
2. See in Philippians 4:3-6 the same sequence of thought from fruitful
people-helping that is rooted in joy that is rooted in prayer. “Yes, I ask
you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by
side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my
fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord
always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to
everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but
in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known to God.”
3. For other instances of planned discipline in prayer see Psalm 55:17;
Mark 1:35; Luke 22:39-40.
4. G. W. Bromiley, “Introduction,” in William Law, A Serious Call to a
Devout and Holy Life (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1966), vi.
5. William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 147.
6. Ibid., 144.
7. Ibid., 149-150.
8. George Mueller, A Narrative of Some of the Lord’s Dealing with
George Muller, Written by Himself, Jehovah Magnified. Addresses by
George Muller Complete and Unabridged, 2 vols. (Muskegon, Mich.:
Dust and Ashes Publications, 2003), 2:731.
9. Ibid., 1:273.
244 = Notes from pages 141 – 163
10. Ibid., 1:272-273.
11. I have tried to unfold in Chapter Eight of Don’t Waste Your Life how
secular jobs can be pursued to the glory of Christ (Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway Books, 2003, 131-154). I would also commend Gene Edward
Veith’s God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Wheaton,
Ill: Crossway Books, 2002).
12. Three other examples of how prayer is designed by God to keep us for
eternal life: 1) In Luke 21:36 Jesus says, “But stay awake at all times,
praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are
going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 2) Jesus
prayed in Luke 22:32 for God to keep Peter from utter apostasy. After
saying that Peter would deny him three times, Jesus said, “But I have
prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have
turned again, strengthen your brothers.” This is the way we should pray
for ourselves and each other. It is God the Father who decisively keeps,
but we have a dependent role to play: We pray. 3) In John 17:11 Jesus
prays, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given
me” (see also vv. 12-15).
13. Ed. Johannes E. Huther, Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Handbook
to the General Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude, trans. Paton
J. Gloag (1883; repr. Winona Lake, Ind.: Alpha Publications, 1980),
697, italics added. See also John Calvin’s excellent comment on
This order of perseverance depends on our being equipped with
the mighty power of God. Whenever we need constancy in our
faith, we must have recourse to prayer, and as our prayers are
often perfunctory, he adds, ‘in the Spirit’, as if to say, such is
the laziness, such the coldness of our makeup, that none can
succeed in praying as he ought without the prompting of the
Spirit of God. We are so inclined to lose heart, and be diffident
that none dares to call God ‘Father’, unless the same Spirit puts
the Word into us. From the Spirit, we receive the gift of real
concern, ardor, forcefulness, eagerness, confidence that we
shall receive—all these, and finally those groanings which
cannot be uttered, as Paul writes (Romans 8:26). Jude does well
indeed to say that no one can pray as he ought to pray, unless
the Spirit direct him. (John Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels
Notes from pages 165 – 167 < 245
Matthew, Mark and Luke and the Epistles of James and Jude,
vol. 3, trans. A. W. Morrison [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans,
14. I think this “becoming more real to us” is what Paul teaches us to pray
for in Ephesians 3:17-19 when he prays “that you, being rooted and
grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the
love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all
the fullness of God.”
15. Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 154.
16. We might enlarge on this first petition with words like these: “O Lord,
please grant that your glory be honored . . . your holiness be
reverenced . . . your greatness be admired . . . your power be praised
. . . your truth be sought . . . your wisdom be esteemed . . . your beauty
be treasured . . . your goodness be savored . . . your faithfulness be
trusted . . . your commandments be obeyed . . . your promises be relied
on . . . your justice be respected . . . your wrath be feared . . . your
grace be cherished . . . your presence be prized . . . your person be
17. Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 153.
19. Ibid., 154.
20. William Wordsworth, “The World Is Too Much With Us: Late and
Soon,” in An Anthology of Romanticism, ed. Ernest Bernbaum (New
York: The Ronald Press Company, 1948), 236. “Sordid boon” is an
ironic phrase that describes the windfall of the world as sadly dirty and
21. A rich source of prayers that can have the effect of deepening and
enriching and focusing our fight for joy through prayer is Arthur Bennet,
ed., The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and
Devotions (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1975).
22. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1997.
23. Similarly Phillips Brooks said, “The more we watch the lives of men, the
more we see that one of the reasons why men are not occupied with
great thoughts and interest is the way in which their lives are overfilled
with little things.” Phillips Brooks, “Fasting” (a sermon for Lent), in
246 = Notes from pages 168 – 172
The Candle of the Lord and Other Sermons (New York: E. Dutton and
Company, 1881), 207.
24. Piper, A Hunger for God, 21-23.
25. Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, 112. Don’t take the
word comfortable here to mean luxurious and easy. The biblical and
eighteenth-century meaning of comfort is inner peace and strength that
may in fact lead us to endure some very uncomfortable circumstances
for Christ’s sake.
26. “For each other” means that the benefit of joy goes both ways: Praying
for others can often help to lift your own darkness. In our depression
and dark seasons the greatest temptation is to become increasingly alone
and isolated. Turning ourselves outward in prayer for others, even when
we don’t feel we have anything to give, can have a wonderful effect on
the soul, and the clouds may soon lift.
HOW TO WIELD THE WORLD IN THE FIGHT FOR JOY
1. C. S. Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” in God in the Dock (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1970), 212.
2. Some philosophers of science, like Michael Ruse, say they believe
morality is no more than a biological survival development, but I doubt
that they live that way. Ruse writes, “The position of the modern
evolutionist is that . . . morality is a biological adaptation no less than
are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set
of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate
that when somebody says ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they
are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference
is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and
reproduction . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.” Michael Ruse,
“Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian
Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), 262-269.
3. C. S. Lewis, “Transposition,” in The Weight of Glory and Other
Addresses (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1949), 26. “I suspect that,
save by God’s direct miracle, spiritual experience can never abide
introspection. If even our emotions will not do so, (since the attempt to
find out what we are now feeling yields nothing more than a physical
sensation) much less will the operations of the Holy Ghost. The attempt
Notes from pages 172 – 180 < 247
to discover by introspective analysis our own spiritual condition is to
me a horrible thing which reveals, at best, not the secrets of God’s spirit
and ours, but their transposition in intellect, emotion and imagination,
and which at worst may be the quickest road to presumption or
4. Lewis, “Transposition,” 24.
5. Ibid., 28.
6. C. S. Lewis, “Meditation in a Toolshed,” in God in the Dock, 212.
7. The exact quote is, “The difference between the almost right word and
the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the
lightning bug and the lightning.” It is taken from a letter from Mark
Twain to George Bainton (October 15, 1888), first printed in The Art
of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods of Work, and Advice
to Young Beginners, Personally Contributed by Leading Authors of the
Day, comp. and ed. George Bainton (New York: D. Appleton and
Company, 1890), 85-88.
8. Richard Foster, “A Pastoral Letter from Richard Foster” in the
November 1996 issue of Heart to Heart, a publication of Foster’s
ministry, Renovaré, 1-3.
9. “One minute would see Miss D. compressed, clenched, and blocked,
or jerking, ticcing, and jabbering—like a sort of human bomb; the
next, with the sound of music from a wireless or a gramophone, the
complete disappearance of all these obstructive-explosive phenomena
and their replacement by a blissful ease and flow of movement as Miss
D., suddenly freed of her automatisms, smilingly ‘conducted’ the
music, or rose and danced to it.” Quoted from Oliver Sachs,
Awakenings, in Robert Jourdain, Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy: How
Music Captures Our Imagination (New York: William Morrow and
Company, 1997), 301.
10. Numerous Internet sites discuss this research. E.g., http://www.epub.
11. I am aware that so much more could be said about the possibilities and
perils of music in the spiritual life. I would like to recommend that you
pursue this further in Harold M. Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith
(San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1993). This is the most helpful and
provocative book I know of on the spiritual function of music.
12. I do not recall the source for this quote. It is simply there in my
248 = Notes from pages 181 – 195
memorabilia, and may have been a letter or recollection from class. If
anyone finds it published, let me know, and I will give due credit.
13. G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (1924; repr. Garden City, N.Y.: Image
Books, 1959), 12.
14. Ibid., 20-21.
15. Ibid., 54.
16. Ibid., 55.
17. Ibid., 60.
18. The quote is from Bertrand Russell, The Autobiography of Bertrand
Russell, 3 vols. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968), 2:159.
19. What he means by abstracting is taking concrete examples and reducing
them to the abstraction of generalities. For example, dealing in concrete
specifics means seeing and savoring a particular oak tree in your front
yard where you climbed as a child and where you carved your initials
when you fell in love. But dealing in abstractions means lumping this
tree into a category and speaking abstractly of all oak trees.
20. The quote comes from the prefatory verse to Lewis Carroll’s Through
the Looking Glass.
21. Darwin gave this advice out of great regret looking back over his life.
Near the end of his life, in the autobiography that he wrote for his
children, he said:
Up to the age of 30 or beyond it, poetry of many kinds . . . gave
me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight
in Shakespeare. . . . Formerly pictures gave me considerable, and
music very great, delight. But now for many years I cannot endure
to read a line of poetry: I have tried to read Shakespeare, and found
it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost
any taste for pictures or music. . . . I retain some taste for fine
scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it
formerly did. . . . My mind seems to have become a kind of
machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts,
but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the
brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot
conceive. . . . The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may
possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the
moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
Notes from pages 196 – 198 < 249
Cited in Virginia Stem Owens, “Seeing Christianity in Red and Green
as Well as Black and White,” Christianity Today 2 (September 2,
22. Jonathan Edwards, “God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by
the Greatness of Man’s Dependence upon Him, in the Whole of It
(1731)” (sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:29-31), in The Sermons of
Jonathan Edwards: A Reader, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth
Minkema, and Douglas A. Sweeney (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1999), 75.
23. Jonathan Edwards, “Miscellanies” no. 95, in The Works of Jonathan
Edwards, vol. 13, The “Miscellanies,” a-500, ed. Thomas Schafer (New
Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994), 263, emphasis added.
24. Sereno E. Dwight, “Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards,” in The Works of
Jonathan Edwards, ed. Edward Hickman (1834; repr. Edinburgh:
Banner of Truth, 1974), 1:xxxviii.
25. Ibid., xxxv.
26. Ibid., xxi.
27. For guidance from a biblical perspective, see Elyse Fitzpatrick, Love to
Eat, Hate to Eat: Breaking the Bondage of Destructive Eating Habits
(Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1999).
28. http://www.endovascular.net/EXERCIZE.html. Accessed 5-26-04.
29. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (1875, 1877; repr.
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1972), 160.
30. Eric W. Hayden, Highlights in the Life of C. H. Spurgeon (Pasadena,
Tex.: Pilgrim Publications, 1990), 103.
31. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, 161.
32. Ibid., 158.
33. Ibid., 312.
WHEN THE DARKNESS DOES NOT LIFT
1. George Herbert, “Bitter Sweet,” from his collection titled The Temple
(1633), quoted from: http://home.ptd.net/~gherbert/Bittersweet.html,
accessed on 6-3-2004.
2. Willem Teellinck, The Path of True Godliness, trans. Annemie
250 = Notes from pages 200 – 209
Godbehere, ed. Joel R. Beeke (died 1629; repr. Grand Rapids, Mich:
Baker, 2003); Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (1630; repr.
Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1998); William Bridge, A Lifting Up for
the Downcast (1649; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1979);
Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment (1648;
repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1979); John Owen, The
Mortification of Sin (1656; repr. Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus,
2002); John Owen, Communion with God (1657; repr. Edinburgh:
Banner of Truth, 1992); Richard Baxter (died 1691), “The Cure of
Melancholy and Overmuch Sorrow by Faith and Physic,” in Puritan
Sermons 1659-1689, vol. 3, ed. Samuel Annesley (Wheaton, Ill.:
Richard Owen Roberts Publishers, 1981 [available to read at
Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (1692; repr. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Reformation Heritage Books, 1999); Henry Scougal,
The Life of God in the Soul of Man (1739; repr. Ross-shire, Scotland:
Christian Focus, 1996); Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections
(1746; repr. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1986); Martyn Lloyd-Jones,
Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,
1965); Gaius Davies, Genius, Grief and Grace: A Doctor Looks at
Suffering and Success (Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2001);
J. I. Packer, Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2002).
3. Baxter, “The Cure of Melancholy,” 257.
4. Ibid., 258.
5. Ibid., 286.
6. Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, 18-19.
7. Davies, Genius, Grief and Grace, 354.
8. David Powlison, “Biological Psychiatry,” in The Journal of Biblical
Counseling 17 (Spring 1999): 3-4.
9. Ibid., 6.
10. Edward T. Welch, Blame It on the Brain? Distinguishing Chemical
Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience (Phillipsburg, N.J.:
P&R, 1998), 126.
11. Shankar Vedantam, “Against Depression, a Sugar Pill Is Hard to Beat,”
in The Washington Post (May 7, 2002): A01. Cited from
Notes from pages 209 – 213 < 251
12. Paul Gerhardt, “Give to the Winds Thy Fears” (1656), trans. John
Wesley (1737), www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/i/givetotw.htm, accessed
13. For a biblical and balanced treatment of assurance, see Donald S.
Whitney, How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? What the Bible Says
About Assurance of Salvation (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994).
14. Baxter, “The Cure of Melancholy,” 266, 278.
15. For two helpful articles on depression and how to help those who
struggle, see Edward T. Welch, “Counseling Those Who Are
Depressed” and “Words of Hope for Those Who Struggle with
Depression,” The Journal of Biblical Counseling 18, no. 2 (2000):
16. Baxter, “The Cure of Melancholy,” 278.
17. C. S. Lewis, ed., George MacDonald: An Anthology (London: Geoffrey
Bles, The Centenary Press, 1946), 20.
18. Ibid., 36. See the quote in its context from the sermon “The Eloi,” at
19. Baxter, “The Cure of Melancholy,” 282.
20. Ibid., 281.
21. For a careful and wise biblical assessment of the devil’s role in the
Christian life and how Jesus and we should make war, see David
Powlison, Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare (Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1995).
22. Joel Carpenter, “Compassionate Evangelicalism,” Christianity Today
(December 2003). Cited on 6-3-2004 at http://www.christianity
23. For biblical and encouraging help in personal evangelism, see Will
Metzger, Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by
Whole People, revised and expanded edition (Downers Grove, Ill.:
InterVarsity Press, 2002).
24. J. Campbell White, “The Laymen’s Missionary Movement,” in
Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, ed. Ralph D. Winter
and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library,
25. Richard Baxter, “The Cure of Melancholy,” 284.
26. For the fuller story of Cowper and Newton from which this material is
252 = Notes from pages 216 – 229
taken see John Piper, “‘The Clouds Ye So Much Dread Are Big with
Mercy’: Insanity and Spiritual Songs in the Life of William Cowper,” in
The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John
Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway Books, 2001), 81-122. For more on Newton, see John Piper,
“John Newton: The Tough Roots of His Habitual Tenderness,” in The
Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John
Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce (Wheaton, Ill.:
Crossway Books, 2002), 41-75.
27. Gilbert Thomas, William Cowper and the Eighteenth Century (London:
Ivor Nicholson and Watson, Ltd., 1935), 202.
28. Ibid., 132.
29. Ibid., 192.
30. Ibid., 384.
31. Ibid., 356.
32. Ibid., 131-132.
33. Davies, Genius, Grief and Grace, 13.
34. William Cowper, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood” (1772).
35. William Cowper, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” (1774).
36. Davies, Genius, Grief and Grace, 103-104.
37. Herbert, “Bitter Sweet.”