Where Does the Joy Come From? “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:4
Where does one go to find joy? Some hoped to find it under their Christmas tree. Others search the shopping mall to find it. Still others believe it will come with the job promotion they’re seeking. Many think joy somehow increases as the number of people they’re friends with on facebook increases.
Where does joy come from?
I confess at times to a great deal of confusion about joy. I get it confused with happiness or an ecstatic feeling of some sort. Everybody wants to feel good about themselves. We all want to be able to reflect on our life and see that we’ve contributed to something noble...that we’ve truly made a difference in the lives of others...that we in some way have made the world a better place.
Yet great accomplishments do not bring joy. Elijah won a great victory over the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel but then fled in fear from the ferocious threats of an evil woman named Jezebel becoming so depressed he wanted to die.
Great accumulation will not bring joy. Solomon was the wisest and one of the richest men ever yet he penned the words, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”. After all he had accomplished life seemed meaningless to him. And Jesus said, “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).
So, where does the joy come from?
Joy comes from our relationship with Christ and with one another. Listen to the words of the apostle John. "We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy." 1 John 1:1-4
To be in fellowship with Jesus Christ brings joy; the joy of knowing Him, loving Him and being loved by Him. John then adds that being in fellowship with other people who know and love Jesus adds to our joy. As we enter into fellowship with one another we understand that our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Everything else in life flows out of our loving relationship with Jesus and with others who know Him.
So when we are able to get the new car or finish a task well or give to meet the need of another we experience joy as we recognize that it is the Lord who gave us the ability to earn wages to purchase the car and who gave us what we needed to finish the task or to meet the need of someone else. His presence and provision is our focus. It is when our lives are centered in Christ and our loving relationship with Him that we experience joy. Conversely, when we lose the Christ-centered life we lose our joy no matter how much money we accumulate or how many things we accomplish.