Long ago as a little boy, I learned the secret of JOY. Someone taught me that JOY is:
This little acrostic has stuck with me for over sixty-five years. I have found it to be true. If you are to be joyful, Jesus must be first in your life and you must put your plans and desires last.
If you are the center of your own little world, if you insist on always having your way, if your feelings are all that matter and you could care less about the feelings of others; you will always be a miserable person and make others miserable to be around you. You will never know the joy of the Lord.
If you put others before yourself, but ignore God in your life, you will experience a degree of joy, but you are still missing out on God’s best for you.
It’s only as you desire to know and obey God and put Him first in your life, that you will have the desire and ability to put the interests and desires of others before your own and live a life of true selflessness. Only then can you know the fullness of joy.
As a sixteen year old boy visiting some missionaries in Haiti many years ago, I was struck by the single ladies working there. No, I was not infatuated with any of them. The thing that impressed me about these ladies is that they all radiated the joy of the Lord as they ministered to the needs of the Haitians. Christ was indeed first in their lives. Others were second and their own desires and feelings were last. That made a lasting impression on me.