What brings you the greatest joy in life? Not what brings you joy, but what brings you the greatest joy? Here’s a list of answers I have heard from many people:
-Seeing my kids succeed
-Spending time with my wife/husband/friend
-Talking with my mother or father
-Succeeding at work
-Being able to provide for my family
-Playing catch with my son or dolls with my daughter
The list goes on and on. Some people spend their entire lives trying to achieve joy. It seems that life is all about the pursuit of happiness. I am new to the world of personal relationships with Christ, I am new to being born again and renewing my commitment to love the Lord. But even in that newness I can already sense a difference in my sense of personal joy. I am in awe some days of the joy I feel and I am starting to believe that what without a relationship with God, people will never find true joy.
Now I will admit that the previous list is full of things that can bring you some form of joy. But true joy comes from your relationship with God. This kind of joy is real. It doesn’t change and it never fails. I am learning that this should be your greatest joy because when it is, you can enjoy all of the other things in life because you have joy from God. This is the joy that was meant to sustain us. This is the joy that gives life to all of our other joys. This type of joy is what holds you up during difficult times. It’s being optimistic at exasperating times. It’s how you remain hopeful during the worst situations possible.
Joy is a big part of who Christ is. Look around you at His creations, especially us... even as fallen as we are and you will know this is true. Think of the last time you saw a beautiful, rich sunset, a tree covered in fresh snow, a deer bounding gracefully across a field, or the last time you saw the smile on your child’s face. God created us to be joyful because He is joyful. Why do you think we were given the ability to laugh? Why does it take more muscles to frown then to smile? He knew we would need joy in our lives.
But better than the ability to be joyful is that we are His joy. Just as a child is the joy of his parents. Every time a child of His steps closer to Him, every time someone commits their life to Him and works to follow in His footsteps we bring Him inexplicable joy. Our pastor says the every time a new person comes to Christ, there is a party in Heaven. (“I say to you that there will be joy like this before the Angels of God over one sinner who returns home.” Luke 15:10) What could be better than the people He created choosing Him over anything else? He smiles down on us and is flled to the top of his cup with love and joy at this child who loves Him with everything they have, every part of their being.
And He is our joy. All good things come from God. He gave them to us so that we would be joyful. And when we realize how much He loves us, we cannot help but rejoice. When we are satisfied in the love of Christ, we can willingly express the joy we have to others. With any luck others will see that joy they will recognize it as something they want, need, something and were created for.