It seems to me that people are on a constant quest to find happiness. We can try to fill our lives with material things, the latest fashions, beauty enhancements, and supplements. Or some people feel that a new relationship, job, experience, or accomplishment will be what makes them happy. The problem is that even if we “feel” happy in the moment, it is often short-lived with these endeavors. It doesn’t take long before the next new thing is available, which can trigger, once again, a sense of need for those things in order for us to be happy again. The only way to stop this vicious cycle is to realize that while happiness is a fleeting feeling, the joy of the Lord is constant and long-lasting. And if you’re wondering how to obtain this joy, look no further, because the answer is in the word itself; in the exact order it's spelled!
J.O.Y.= Jesus, Others, You
J- We need Jesus at the center of lives in order to experience this kind of joy. 1 Peter 1:8-9 says, “ Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an unspeakable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” If you have Jesus first in your mind and heart, the love you have for Him and faith you profess in Him and His word will cause a constant flow of His joy and peace in your life. Jesus is life and the giver of life. And He doesn’t just want us to have an ordinary life, but an abundant life filled with all of His promises…including JOY.
O- Serving others is a necessary component in experiencing long-lasting joy. The bible says that Jesus came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mathew 20:28). This can look very different for everyone, but a good place to start is in your own home. Are you putting your family first by self-sacrificing your time and resources? Are you emotionally investing into significant relationships? Are there people going through difficult times that God has made you aware of or that are coming to you for help in any way? Another way to serve others is with your talents and gifts…yes, that includes your occupation! Or doing some volunteer work. Instead of allowing ourselves to be overly consumed with our own lives and needs, Jesus wants us to follow His example by intentionally putting others first. Although He is not asking that we literally give our life as a ransom, His word does say in Matthew 16:25 that “whoever wants to save their life must lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” You can make this wonderful exchange with a promise to find your JOY!
Y- Taking care of you is also necessary to experience true joy. Jesus cares about you and doesn’t want you to neglect yourself. You need to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy in order to be of service to others, and God wants you to take care of your body, the “temple of the holy spirit,” in each of these areas (1 Corinthians 6:19). This includes adequate diet and exercise, as well as times of rejuvenation and rest. But He also desires for you to enjoy life and blessings of all kinds. It’s healthy to have experiences to look forward to and it’s okay to have nice things too. As a matter of fact, James 1:17 says that "every good and perfect gift is from above!"
As long as you are consistently putting priorities in the right order, you can experience an unspeakable and glorious joy that God himself will fill you with.