Joy; now there’s a word. How many of us really know what that word means and even still, how many of us have actually experienced true joy?
If you look up the word “Joy” in the dictionary it states that joy is, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” Yet we all know that well-being, success, or good fortune or the prospect of possessing what one desires will only bring temporary joy. Is that good enough? For many people, it seems to be. They spend their lives in pursuit of “things/people” that will bring them joy only to find that that joy is short lived. So they stay in constant pursuit. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me or very joyful for that matter.
So then what will bring me real joy and exactly what is joy? Can I have it everyday or only once in a while? Is joy the same thing as say, “happiness”? Is true joy found in people, places, and things? Or is it something else all together? How do I get the kind that will stay with me no matter what happens? These are all questions that I asked myself at some point or another in my life. I was tired of being on the “Pursuit of Joy and Happiness Train” only to be derailed time and time and time again. Then one day I made a choice that would change my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine and answered every single one of those questions above as well as many, many more. I chose God. I’m not talking about religion here. I chose God and began a relationship with Him 42 years ago. I’ve had 42 years of knowing the source of genuine, unshakable joy. Let me give it to you from his own word.
“Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
Focus on the last of this scripture for a moment, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” As I began to pursue God, I found myself gaining strength so that whatever came my way, I was okay. I was safe. I was content. I was joyful. I have found that this is an everyday choice that I make. I choose joy and God every single day. I am in pursuit of God because I know that without Him, life is too hard and I don’t have what it takes to make it through. Aren’t you tired of chasing after things/people that don’t bring you lasting joy? You have to make the choice. My suggestion is to Choose Joy.