The J.O.Y. Group!
We used to have a group in our church called “The J.O.Y. Group.” The group was comprised mostly of seniors, and they were indeed mostly joyful. But the reason this group was so named had more to do with its acronym: Jesus + Others + You = J.O.Y.! You see, these folk had figured out the proper priorities for a joy-filled life.
The greatest commandment, Jesus said, was this: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,'” Then added, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37-39).
In another place Jesus said,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11).
Yes sir, the old guys had it right: Jesus + Others + You = J.O.Y.!
I know if no greater joy myself than in bringing joy to another. Joy is way better than happiness! Dictionaries define happiness with phrases like these: “a feeling of great happiness,” “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires,” “a state of felicity,” “to experience great pleasure or delight.”
A feeling, emotion, state, experience – all things that come… then go. Then, when they’re gone, we’re back at whatever feeling, emotion, state, or experience we were at before happiness “happened.” The root “hap” carries with it the sense of a thing occurring by chance or good luck… by “happenstance.” Happiness is just something that occurs. There is little you can do to hold on to it.
But Joy… the sort Jesus gives to us… that Joy is eternal. As many translations put the above verse, “that my joy might remain in you.” And in verse 16 Jesus adds, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16). And “Joy” is one of those “fruits.” (See Gal. 5:22). It is found in only in Christ, and remains — even in times of sorrow.
This Christmas, consider J.O.Y.
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).
Are you a member of “The J.O.Y. Group?”