Fighting for Joy

Fighting for Joy

Paul Bankson

This past Sunday we considered the need, in John Piper’s words, to “fight for joy”. I appreciate Piper’s perspective very much. We live in a fallen world in which we deal with trial, disappointment, heartache, and grief. Being a joyful Christian may seem like an unfulfilled dream. For that reason, we must distinguish happiness- that is tied to circumstances- and joy, which is lasting and is linked to knowing God more intimately through His Son, Jesus Christ. We all know that our desire for the things of God can wax and wane. We grow hot and cold like weather in middle Georgia! Thus, Piper reminds us of our need to “fight for joy”.

This past Sunday I referenced an article from the Desiring God web site. I’ve provided that link below to the 15 ways to fight for joy. I was told of a really good question that was asked in regard to this list. Piper’s very first way to fight for joy is to “Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.” The question was then asked, “If joy is God’s gift, why do we need to fight for it?” That’s a really good question!

Here’s my answer: There’s a sense in which the Christian life is a fight for what we already are and already have. Consider what is written Philippians 2:12-13-

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (ESV)

The Apostle Paul says to “work out your own salvation”. In other words, make maximum effort to live a life of godliness. But before we succumb to despair at the challenge the Apostle adds, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Live the Christian life always realizing that it is God who gives you both desire and ability to live it! In this way we see Gods’ grace magnified and at the same time we are urged not to be passive.

In our fight for joy, we realize that joy is God’s gift. He is the true source of it. He gives us joy and the desire to have it. With that encouragement in mind we need to fight for it in a world that seems bent on sapping it from us. We look forward to that day when there’ll be no more need to fight for joy. It’ll be impossible to go without it.

Here’s the link that was mentioned this past Sunday: