The holidays are a time when “joy” is heard just about everywhere. The term “JOY” literally means “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” We hear this word often throughout the holiday season—in songs, poems and written on banners as decoration.
When I hear the word JOY, my first thought is Jesus, Others, Yourself. I learned this acronym years ago and tried very hard to implement it in my life. I thought it a very good way for all people to live – not just ministers.
Fast forward through thirty years of ministry, and a tendency to be a workaholic, the thought of an adulthood spent putting myself last does not always bring me the “feeling of great pleasure and happiness” that is the very definition of joy. While it’s always been easy for me to put Jesus in first place; as my wife and I started a family, it was not always easy putting others before them. They, being part of me, were subsequently in last place.
This can be unhealthy after a while. It you don’t take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually, it can cause you to neglect being a good steward of your life. It is hard to bring JOY to this world when we are not well ourselves.
My second thought of JOY is my two daughters. Both of their middle names are “JOY.” My wife and I chose their names knowing they both would bring JOY to this world and that is exactly what they have done. Actually, that is what we should all strive to do.
One of my favorite scriptures about joy is Luke 2:10, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.’”
One of my favorite definitions for JOY is from Rick Warren: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”
In our day to day lives, let’s take to heart the words of Billy Sunday…”If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
Randy Keith Worrell is a Chaplain at Christian City, Union City, Georgia and an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He received his MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He, and his wife Julie, have two grown daughters.