If you could make a list of every essential thing you need to have joy, what would it be? It appears that my list would find the obvious ones: A nice house, new car, great friends, a tan in the summer, plenty of vacation time, new music on my iPod, weather that cooperates with my hair and plans for the day…ok, this is just the beginning but I think I’ll stop now.
What is joy? We sum up our joy by our wallet size, relationship status, and how well we like our jobs. On the surface, all the “pretty” people with the world’s attention would have all the slices of pie when it comes to joy. The rest of us just eat the crumbs.
I recently saw a couple whose joy was overflowing with every word they said. But the groom had a disability, so the number of tasks he could accomplish was very short. He could love and be loved, and that was more than enough for his bride. She had to take care of everything, even go to work because he couldn’t. She wasn’t resentful. As she spoke of the joy they shared together, I was speechless!
Real-life examples of joy are usually found on the faces of those who give up temporary things and find joy in what God brings them.
Too many times I’ve tried calculating joy by whether or not I feel appreciated. Did I get a nice e-mail or message from a friend today? Some days not so. It’s a lonely, frustrating pursuit. I cannot control my life even slightly to make this feeling last!
Where do you go to find joy?
I’m thankful God made it simple for me. He made me to enjoy Him, so that my joy would come from my relationship with Him. Without this, I would constantly struggle to find a joy that lasts. Jesus spoke to His Father and said this: “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they (his friends) may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13) Truth be known: Joy is within us. It goes deeper than a feeling. And joy comes from Someone. Jesus said “my joy”, which means He owns it and loans it…in “full measure”! When you go shopping, you simply can’t buy joy. Even if those jeans that fit perfectly make you want to do jumping jacks. They will rip…eventually.
Joy comes from God so you can’t get it without God. The Bible says that God sings over us. He enjoys us. We are His. And as we discover that we belong to Him, our joy is complete.