The Pryor Times

December 19, 2013

Joy to the world; Jesus first

Steve Lay
Chouteau Church of Christ

CHOUTEAU — The word JOY is often used as an acronym for: Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.  That acronym has been used for a long time.  There is great truth in it, and it is easy to remember, using the letters JOY to refer to Jesus, others, and yourself.

Many people make the mistake of trying to find happiness by satisfying their own desires.  But that just does not work.  Jesus said in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”  Usually, the more selfish a person is, the less joy he has in his life.  For some reason, the people who try the hardest to please self find that they are the most unhappy people in the world.

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35).  In a similar passage, Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

The greatest joy is found in the Lord.  Jesus said in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  The Bible is filled with passages that talk about joy.  It should be obvious that God wants us to be happy!  He tells us that in Christ, we can have complete cheerfulness.  Even through life’s storms, we can remain delightfully calm.

For many people, joy or happiness depends upon the people or the situation around them.  If they are around friends and having a good time, they are happy.  But in trying or difficult times, they are sad.  It does not have to be that way.  Jesus said in John 16:22, “…your joy no one will take from you.”  Although thieves might be able to steal physical possessions, they cannot take joy away from a Christian.

James said that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trials.  Paul told the Colossians that they could have joy even while suffering.  Paul knew they could because he could.  While he was in prison, he wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  And even though the Thessalonian Christians had received God’s word with much affliction, they still had joy.

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”  Christians can have constant joy because they have what Paul described as a “peace of God which surpasses all understanding,” (Philippians 4:7).

So, because of Christ, we can have joy and peace at all times.  The storms of life cannot destroy our contentment, because we know that Jesus will help us safely through them.  Physical harm or even death itself cannot damage our contentment, because we realize that life on this earth is extremely short, compared to eternity in heaven.

Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  The Bible tells us that we can have exceeding joy.  It is a joy that is inexpressible.  Everyone should desire a life that is filled with such joy!

Thank God for sending His Son to this earth.  It is only through Him that our joy can be complete.  He died for our sins so we can have an abundant life.  Because of Him, we can always be happy.  And best of all, that happiness will continue eternally!

I hope all of you have a very happy holiday season!  Enjoy spending time with your family.  Remember that greater joy comes from giving than from receiving.  And thank God for the joy that we can experience every day of the year!