How Do You Spell Joy?
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another” (vv. 15, 16). - Romans 12:9–21
When we read about the Israelites rejoicing on the shore of the Red Sea, we can identify with that joy to some degree. They had just been delivered from the clutches of their enemies. The Egyptian soldiers who had been their captors for so many years lay dead along the shore. The Hebrews had every cause to be joyful. But what about in darker times? What about the time when they were back in Egypt trying to make bricks without straw? What about the time when God led them into the wilderness? What about the time when they were trapped between their enemy and the seemingly impenetrable barrier of the sea? During those times, we do not read of their rejoicing. Mostly, we read of their complaining.
Can’t we, sinful as we are, identify with the Israelites especially in those situations? Is it not easier to complain in the midst of trials rather than count it all joy? But as believers filled with the Holy Spirit, we are commanded to be joyful in the Lord, no matter how difficult the situation. How do we do that?
We can find joy in the midst of sorrow is by rejoicing with those who rejoice, and by delighting in the happiness of another instead of being preoccupied with our own troubles.
That’s one of the principles taught to us from the Scriptures. Our joy is not to be restricted to our own circumstances, or to our own achievements, but we are to find occasions to rejoice with someone else. This might mean that we have to play a role in bringing joy to someone else’s life. If you are down and depressed, do something for someone else. It can be anything that will bring a smile to another person’s face and lift his soul. In serving others, you will find joy. Our joy is often so self-centered, so restricted to our own circumstances, that unless things go the way we want them to go, we can’t be happy. But the New Testament calls us to rejoice when others are rejoicing. We should not be jealous, envious, or resentful. We should be able to enter into the joy of others, just as we are to enter into their suffering. This can only be done when we take our eyes off ourselves and become involved in the lives of others.
How do you spell joy? “J” stands for Jesus. “O” stands for others, and “Y” stands for yourself. The secret to joy is to put Jesus first, others second, yourself last. This is a child’s lesson, but it is so difficult to grasp. Too often we put the “Y” first. Make plans to do something for someone else this week. Enter into someone else’s life.
Passages for Further Study
- 1 Corinthians 12:1–26
- Hebrews 3:13; 10:25