Over these past few weeks, we’ve been looking at 3 often considered negative emotions that we all deal with; anxiety, anger and sadness. In many churches, anyone that struggles with these emotions are considered “less than” at best and “unrepentant sinners” at worst.
Would it surprise you to know that Jesus felt each of these emotions, too? I don’t think we would consider him “less than” or a sinner.
This weekend, we are shifting gears a bit and talking about joy…real joy…not the cheap fake stuff that requires all of our dreams to come true. No, we are looking for the real thing; the kind of joy that finds hope on a rainy day, a disappointing relationship or even a pandemic. That kind of joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances.
So what is it and how do we find it?
Interestingly, if we do a quick word study on how the actual word ‘joy’ is defined in some of our oldest languages, we might find a clue!
In English, the basic definition of joy is simply this: “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”
That’s not so bad, right? Who doesn’t want a feeling of GREAT pleasure and happiness? However, it doesn’t tell us how to get there or what has to happen first. It’s like we stumble upon this place that we hold on for dear life or else we may lose it forever.
The Greeks do a little better. Joy is translated from “Chara” and it literally means “to rejoice, be glad, full of joy”; which is a little better because it at least makes it an active word…something that we have control over. It’s as if we choose to have joy which is way better than the passive definition we find in our English language.
The Hebrews, though, they really understand the concept of joy. “Gil” isn’t just about a fleeting feeling…it’s about a state of mind. For the Hebrews, joy meant ultimate trust in something that couldn’t disappoint us. With that kind of joy, it doesn’t matter as much what happens around us because we trust God through it all!
Which definition are you living by? There’s much more to this conversation so I hope you’ll join us this weekend as we discover the kind of Joy that Jesus had!
Don’t just chase joy…catch it.