Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Gal. 5:24
We must realize that in putting sin to death we’re saying no to our own desires. Sin most often appeals to us through our desires, or what the older writers called our affections. Not all desires, of course, are sinful; we can desire to know God, to obey Him, and to serve Him. There are many good, positive desires.
Holiness: Day by Day (Colorado Springs, CO; Navpress; 2008) p. 233
Books by Jerry Bridges
In the hearing is the seeing. The Lord opens the eyes of the heart to see the glory of Christ in the Word. God has chosen in this age to reveal himself to the world mainly through the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, by means of the written Word, the Bible.
The reason this is so crucial in the ﬁght for joy is that God himself is the ultimate object of our enjoyment. But God “reveals himself . . . by the word.” Oh, how precious is the Bible! Here is where we see God most clearly and most surely. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes and grants us to see the beauty of Christ (Matt. 16:17; Acts 16:14). If there were no Bible, there would be no lasting joy. Even those who yet have no Bible in their language depend on the Bible for the Christ-revealing, saving knowledge of God.
God can and does show himself in other ways, especially through the works of believers (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12; 1 Cor. 12:7). But none of them reveals God with the clarity and fullness of the Bible. All of them orbit around the sun of God’s written Word. And if the central gravitational power of the sun is denied, all the planets ﬂy into confusion.
To be sure, in the ﬁght for joy we will not kneel forever over our Bibles. We will get up and walk with Jesus onto the Calvary road. And there, in the risks and the afflictions of love, we will see the Jesus of the Word in the manifestations of power. This too is part of our joy. Sometimes it will be extraordinary, miraculous power. More often it will be the supernatural grace of self-denying sacriﬁce, unwavering faith, and the conversion of sinners into lovers of Christ. In all this we will see the Lord and rejoice. But all these manifestations of Christ would be vague and blurry without the written Word to guide our understanding and guard our hearts. We need the Word of God not only to see God in the Word, but to see him rightly anywhere else.
When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway Books; 2004) p. 96.
Books by John Piper
Do these two things really go together? Fighting and joy? Fighting sounds so pressured and violent. Joy sounds more relaxed and peaceful. It just seems strange to talk about fighting for joy. You may as well talk about fighting to like hot fudge sundaes. Either you do or you don’t, right? What’s the fight? No, it’s not that simple. Physical tastes like hot fudge vs. caramel are morally neutral. It’s not right or wrong to like the one over the other. But having a spiritual taste for the glory of Christ is not morally neutral. Not to have it is evil and deadly. Not to see and savor Christ is an insult to the beauty and worth of his character. Preferring anything above Christ is the very essence of sin. It must be fought.
When I Don’t Desire God (Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway Books; 2004) p. 33.
Books by John Piper