A few years ago, my wife and one of our youth purchased Piper's book, "When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy," for a number of reasons. The two were encouraged and benefited great from it. Now, a number of years later, I find myself studying the subject of joy. At our church we are marching through the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and we are now discussing joy and are walking through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).
What I enjoyed most about this book was that, like all things Piper, joy is rooted in the glory of God. In fact, if you read any of Piper's book, this theme will be prominent. However, Piper makes it clear that joy is rooted in the justification of the sinner and the sanctification of the believer. In other words, joy is rooted in our standing before God (justification) in that though we are sinners, on account of Christ's death and resurrection, we are counted as righteous, and it is rooted in our continual reformation as holy one's of God (sanctification). Real joy is not in what the world offers, what we have or posses, our prestige or power, or in anything else. Real, lasting, true joy is rooted in the cross and resurrection of Christ.
Piper walks the reader through these issues and shows how they contribute to joy. He discusses the cross, the resurrection, the importance of studying, meditating, and memorizing Scripture, the importance of "praying without ceasing," and other key aspects on "how to fight for joy."
As a pastor, I was encouraged by the depth of the exposition and historical theology, and at the same time, the pastoral care in which Piper writes. Although at times Piper discusses issues that new believers may struggle with, he raises issues that every Christian must understand. It is imperative for Christians everywhere to understand that the cross of Christ and His empty tomb is practical, not just theological. Real joy, real love, real patience, real righteous living, real endurance, real evangelism, real etc. are rooted in the cross and resurrection. Unless we understand this, we will only continue to run around in vain like the rest of the world. The Christian is born at the foot of the cross and will die at the foot of the cross.
For those lacking desire for God searching for real joy, I highly recommend this book. It is straightforward and thorough. Furthermore, let me make it clear: real joy, lasting joy cannot be found in this world or from anyone except in Jesus Christ our Lord who, though we did not deserve it, died on our behalf reconciling us with our Creator who loved us even while we were yet rebelling against Him. You have worth because you were first worthless.