Also, this project boils down to three letters the prize of a well-lived, wise life in the Lord: J-O-Y. In comparison to other important qualities of a Christian’s life, my understanding is the following. Everyone is in need of one thing: love. And everyone is searching for one thing: peace. But what everyone is always trying to fabricate in life is also one thing, but it’s much harder to come by, even as a seasoned Christian: joy. We go to great lengths in our lives to duplicate, replicate, copy, and manufacture a counterfeit of joy. In fact, we often view our efforts to produce joy as an excuse to skate in the gray areas of life (we might protest, “I’m just trying to enjoy myself!”).
Real joy, however, is not something we can produce ourselves; it is something that we can only receive from Jesus. After we’ve received Jesus’ joy, then we can begin to understand that this joy allows us to enjoy life, no matter how hard or turbulent it is. The result, then, is that our enjoyment of life is no longer an objective of our sin but, rather, a product of our new life in the Lord. Furthermore, our joy in the Lord motivates us to turn away from our former wrong-doing and it is an independent variable in our lives, meaning that nothing on the outside (or inside) of us can cause it to fade, dim, or dampen.
The love, peace, and joy (and more) that everyone seeks in life can only be found in Jesus. This is an important premise to the joy journey. Without Jesus, joy is meaningless because it is Jesus who gives life, weight, and substance to our joy. Yet, many of us who have already invited Jesus into our hearts still live joyless lives, and this discrepancy leads to the questions that guided my research.