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  • Writer's pictureHilltop UMC


By Hannah Sweet


Joseph Marimon said “Joy is the echo of God’s life within us.” I couldn’t have phrased it better. Think about the things that make you joyful. I’ll bet that most of them weren’t material at all, were they? Most likely they were family, friends, and maybe a slice of really yummy cake. (I can’t fault you there.) Seriously though, did God’s love enter your mind when you thought of what makes you joyful? It’s easy to forget about God’s love in terms of bringing us joy, as it is something we have always had and will always have, a constant if you will. However, God’s love and our relationships with God should be first on our list of joy bringers. I want you to think of this little poem as you consider joy:

J- Jesus first.

o- Other’s next.

Y- Yourself last.

J-O-Y, photo credit Mary Engelbreit

We should always be putting Jesus first in our lives, then we should think on others and lastly we should turn our focus inward. Living life in this manner will bring you surprising joy. It won’t come naturally and it won’t come easily. As humans, we were made selfish and we tend to do this in the reverse. Always putting ourselves first, but I ask you, does this really bring you joy. I want you to consider Psalm 16:11, which says:

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”

I think what they are trying to tell us is that by living a Godly life we will find true joy, unlike the superficial joy that putting ourselves first brings. I know first-hand that it isn’t easy and it takes practice. I am just as selfish as anyone, but helping others and giving selflessly has brought me the biggest return time and time again in the form of joy. It isn’t just a temporary joy either, it’s a joy that touches the deepest part of my soul and radiates outward. Once you have that deeply rooted joy it becomes contagious and everyone in your life will want to know where you got that overflowing and radiating joyfulness. I do promise you this, that once you have a taste for true joy, you will hunger for it in a way that you have never hungered for anything before. You are in luck though, it is something easily obtained, but not easily destroyed. Praise God for that! So this week I challenge you to make a list of just 5 things you can do that will follow that simple road to true joy; Jesus first, others next, yourself last. You will surely be surprised!

Lord thank you for giving me true joy. Thank you for making it obtainable in a way that is easy for even the most hard headed of us to understand. I know that this is only a taste of the joy that lies within your kingdom and for giving me a taste of what is to come I can never express my gratitude deep enough, but I can share it with all I meet. Thank you for using me to reach others with your unending JOY! Amen.

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