So what’s all this about JOY? I mean we all want it and everything, but often it is more of a bonus that we can’t predict. It isn’t really a priority but perhaps an accessory? But when I started to study the subject and saw how much Jesus talked about JOY I started to wonder if I have been missing something, under-estimating perhaps? I want to make sure I am obedient, discerning, serving others, and if JOY happens then great but it hasn’t been a priority. And honestly I feel sometimes this JOY thing is just one more pressure – to be a good Christian I am to be joyful, oh brother…
But I am starting to re-think this now and uncover what Jesus means by JOY. I am wondering in my priorities have gotten it backwards, if I actually have developed Spiritual Dyslexia – let me tell you why… let me tell you about JOY.
Joy is that spark of heightened emotion when you connect with something good; something bigger, something that pulls you on. It is about connection. It is different than peace which puts the heart at rest – quiet assurance.
Let’s take a look at this in an example. Think about seeing someone you really loved again after you have been separated for a while. The anticipation grows and grows and then the burst of JOY when you finally get to embrace. Or think about the experience a parent has with their child. (I am not saying all the time, sometimes when we hold a baby and it is 3am we are not feeling it and that is okay….) But the times where the parent feels that leap inside their soul, the spark where there are not enough words to describe their emotion. OK – so you have that image in your mind, of a reunion or holding a baby… Now get this….not only does the person feeling the love and joy experience strength and energy, but this JOY, excitement, heightened emotion that comes from the eyes of the JOYFUL, it stimulates growth in the receiver. Did you get that? The friend, lover, parent is communicating their joy to the recipient and they grow JOY receptacles and their brain expands.
Now don’t tune out on me because you are going to see where this all makes sense from what Jesus taught us soon. Scientists now can study the brain waves with MRI and have learned the stimulus of joy increases the growth and development of the front of the brain. This front part of the brain, frontal context, is the higher regions of the brain where we are creative and compassionate. Without that development of this part of the brain, fear rules and keeps the events of life concentrated in the fight or flight mode. The brain is concerned about protection and survival only unless something pulls it onwards. When the brain experiences exchanges of joy and peace in relationships, it grows, develops and blooms into its destiny. Wow. So let me tell you why and where JOY originated.
JOY was conceived in the perfect love relationship of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Joy is birthed in a relationship and operates with two or more free beings. This perfect LOVE union did not want to contain JOY because JOY grows and created a people. They breathed life and free will to them, because you cannot have joy and love without free will. The JOY longed to be expressed and so the Son, the only begotten Son came to earth and from His earthly body He said, “Abide in My love; I have spoken this to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. His joy – our joy – complete.
Joy pulls us on and helps us grow. And joy helps us recover when things go wrong. You see we never stop the need to grow and recover and God is the author and source of joy. We play our part in responding. In becoming more and more aware of what the Psalmist says in Psalm 16:11, In His Presence is fullness of JOY.