Today I want to give you a bird's eye view of John Piper's When I Don't Desire God. This isn't a book you want to just launch yourself into! It helps - it would have helped me, anyway! - to have a feel for what lies ahead.
The first third of the book tells us why we need to fight for joy. It talks about how joy glorifies God, how devastating it is to know that God should be our highest joy when he's not, what the difference is between desire and delight, and how joy is both a gift and a fight.
The rest of the book tells us how to fight for joy. You'll find here the best chapters on the "spiritual disciplines" (Piper calls them "means of grace") I've ever read - and I've read a few! So if at any point you find the opening chapters hard going, think of them as a climb up a hill: at around chapter six, the view opens out before you and it's all worthwhile.
I suggest you read When I Don't Desire God at the rate of about three chapters a week, since this will get you through all twelve chapters in a month. We'll start slowly, reading just two chapters this week, but you may want to read a bit ahead, because we'll discuss four chapters next week, and four chapters the week after that (sorry, but the chapters naturally fall into pairs). During the last week we'll read the last two chapters (the most exciting of all, I think!) - which brings us to twelve.
Here's the plan:
Chapter 1 - Why joy matters
Chapter 2 - Desire and delight
Chapters 3 & 4 - The gift and the fight
Chapters 5 & 6 - Weapon 1: the gospel
Chapters 7 & 8 - Weapon 2: the Bible.
Chapters 9 & 10 - Weapon 3: prayer
Chapter 11 - Weapon 4: creation & our bodies
Chapter 12 - Dealing with depression
How's that sound to you?