John Piper notes in Chapter 3 of When I Don’t Desire God that, at first glance, linking fighting with joy seems absurd. We don’t fight to like physical tastes like hot fudge sundaes. Physical tastes are morally neutral, neither right nor wrong. But having a spiritual taste for Christ is not morally neutral. Pastor Piper states that Satan desperately wants to hide God’s joy and glory from the eyes of our hearts. It is only is we resolve to fight for joy that joy will become rugged, durable and deep through our suffering.
Writer Flannery O’Connor describes this struggle in The Habit of Being:
“Always you renounce a lesser good for a greater; the opposite is what sin is . . . The struggle to submit . . . is not a struggle to submit but a struggle to accept and with passion. I mean, possibly, with joy.”
If we are to glorify Christ, our faith and delight must be rooted in Christ rather than in His gifts. Upon reflection, has losing the gift of our ministry position or career choice shifted our focus from the Giver to the gift, thereby causing our faith to waver?
John adds that the Bible passages that speak of the fight of faith (i.e. 1 Timothy 6:12) equally apply to the fight for joy. Consider the second verse of “Fight the Good Fight (Lutheran Service Book #664):
“Run the straight race through God’s good grace;
Lift up you eyes, and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.”