Thai girl sleep on the ground,emancipate,free,liberate

What really is joy anyway? Webster’s dictionary defines joy as “the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; pleasurable feelings or emotions caused by success, good fortune, and the like, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exhilaration of spirits; delight.”

How do I know I have joy? Do I get joy from buying a new pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes? I felt certain pleasant emotions just trying them on, and that description is in the definition above. Do I get joy from purchasing those new curtains? They successfully blocked the sunlight that was obstructing the view of half of the television screen. Isn’t that also in the definition of joy? I think joy sometimes gets confused with happiness; and purchasing stuff is just a temporary happiness that will soon fade when I get the credit card bill in the mail. Shoes and curtains are earthly, and they will soon be worn and faded, even replaced. I probably won’t be sad when the shoes and curtains are gone because I will just replace them with new ones, sparking another short-term happiness episode.

When do I experience joy? When I hear the word joy, what immediately comes to mind is my wedding day and the birth of my three children. John 16:21 tell us we have joy when a human being is born. Thinking further though, my husband and children come as a gift from God. So when I am feeling those emotions related to my family, I can really see where that joy is coming from, Christ.

So then, when will I know joy? Only by living a life through Christ can true joy be experienced. In 1 John 1:1-4 we find that our joy is not complete without the Father and his Son, Jesus. When Jesus knew He was leaving this world, in John 17: 1-19, His prayer to God was that the people would become one with Him. John 17:13 says “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” While we can have some joy with a marriage or the birth of children, we cannot truly know joy fully without Christ.

You may be asking how do you now go about finding joy?  Since joy is found in Christ, living an extraordinary life through Christ is the way. Spend time with Jesus; pray, worship, get to know Him. Paul says it well in Romans 15: 13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

At one time I dated my spouse, spent time with him, got to know him. So how did I know he was the one? I just knew. When will you know joy? You will just know.

A little bit about Shari: “I have been the Accounting Manager at Gloria Dei for five years now. I am married to Army Major (Ret) Doug Smith, and we have three children, Heather, Scott and Sarah.  The US Army brought our family to Iowa in 2007, and it is the closest we have been to our hometown of Missoula, Montana in many years. This past six months has been a huge transition for our family with the retirement of my husband. I enjoy reading, games, crocheting, and cooking. My husband and I go to all Marvel comic movies (over and over….and over again), plays, concerts, and sporting events…most of all the Barnstormers! Now that I have a set of cowbells to ring at all the games, I feel at home here in Iowa.”