PiperIn a recent “Ask Pastor John” podcast, Tony Reinke asked John Piper, “What steals your joy?”   Piper responded that trouble in his family life is the biggest culprit in sabotaging his joy in Christ.  Below is an excerpt from the podcast transcript and a link to the audio.

So what things are most apt to steal your joy?

We asked this question in a recent Ask Pastor John episode, and what follows is a lightly edited transcript of John Piper’s transparent self-reflection for ministers (and for everyone facing the pain of family fractures).

My kids. My marriage. My soul in response to my kids and my marriage. If things are sweet at home you can stand almost anything in the ministry, at least that is my experience. The hardest battles for me have been emotional battles within my family. Living by the Spirit doesn’t prevent hard relational things from happening in the ministry, it just gets you through them with hope, and in the end, with joy in the sustaining grace of God.

That is pretty weighty to say the biggest joy-stealers in the ministry are not deacons, not elders, not counseling issues, not people who leave the church, not notes you get in the mail from disgruntled parishioners. Those problems are nowhere as emotionally depleting as conflict in a marriage, or kids that are disappointing you (or you are disappointing them). So here are some implications.

(1) Investment in a happy, Christ-honoring marriage is not separate from ministry.For me it was part of the power of ministry. And I don’t just mean that my ministry is legitimated because elders are supposed to have well-behaved homes (1 Timothy 3:2–7; Titus 1:6–9). That is not what I mean. I mean the actual motivation for doing ministry rose and fell with the authenticity of Christian living at home. And so it wasn’t merely asking, “Do I qualify?,” like some external rule that I had to meet, but rather, “Can I survive?” Is the burden that I feel at home depleting so much energy I won’t have anything for Sunday morning? So to invest in the family was to invest in my survival, not just my qualifications.

Read the whole thing here.

Listen to the podcast here.