I couldn't see Jesus' painting in church
Jesus Christ: The Source of Enduring Joy
I recently attended a testimony meeting where the Spirit was felt strongly. I listened carefully as a zealous sister declared, "I have great joy thanks to God's plan of salvation."
I immediately realized that this woman was not simply repeating familiar words. The light that shone in her eyes, the dignified, spiritual sound of her voice, her radiant and peaceful expression - everything about her confirmed the truth of what she said. She was filled with joy. She radiated joy. In fact, she was in the process of becoming more like the Savior and incorporating His image into the expressions on her face (see Alma 5:14). That included feeling joy.
As she manifested faith, I remembered the words of some well-known hymns:
Faithful we hold on to the iron rod
and find our joy in it.1
Come, Heilge, come! Not afraid of toil and plagues,
happily walk your path!
They have to leave their worries behind,
and think of your future happiness;
then it sounds joyful in the heart:
All well, all well!2
My voice trembles with joy:
"I know that my saviour is alive!"3
And this Christmas season we sing:
"I bring good news of great joy
you and all people. "4
Rejoice, O world, the Lord appeared
the king's song resounds! ...
O rejoice, you Christianity,
the Savior came to earth.
Since serving as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson has offered invitations to the people of the world many times, also promising joy: “Our message to the world is simple and sincere: We invite all the children of God on both sides of the veil to come to their Savior to receive the blessings of the holy temple, lasting joy to have and to prepare for eternal life. "6
What exactly is this joy that we sing and speak of and that we are obliged to offer to all people? And how do you get it? Let us now consider answers to these two important questions together.
What is joy
Joy is among other things as feeling deep comfort [or] happiness "7 Are defined. In comparison, joy is shown in the Guide to the Scriptures as “a Status of happiness "," which springs from righteous life "8. Interestingly, the gospel perspective shows us that joy is more than a fleeting feeling or a fleeting emotion. Rather, it is a spiritual gift and a state of being and becoming. It is for this reason that I have described the testimony sister as someone who is filled with and exuding joy.
A wise and loving father, Lehi taught his sons that the purpose of earthly life for all human beings is to have joy:
“But see, everything happened according to the wisdom of him who knows everything.
Adam fell so that human beings might be and that human beings might be so that they might have joy ”(2 Nephi 2:24, 25).
Adam and Eve summed up the essentials of what they had learned from the Eternal Father and from personal experience. Adam announced, “Praise be to the name of God, for as a result of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I will have joyand again in the flesh I will see God ”(Moses 5:10; emphasis added).
And Eva added: “If we had not converted, we would never have had offspring and would never have known good and bad, either the joy of our redemption and eternal life that God gives to all who obey ”(Moses 5:11; emphasis added).
God's plan of happiness enables all His children to receive physical bodies and experience on earth, choose righteousness in the face of evil and temptation, and honorably assist Heavenly Father in His sublime plan through marriage and parenting.9 Finally, at our resurrection, “the spirit and body will be reunited to be an abundance of joy to receive ”(Doctrine and Covenants 138: 17; emphasis added).
How do you get joy?
I believe that contrasting righteous joy and worldly fun or pleasure is instructive and helps us better understand what true joy really is. Joy comes from believing in Jesus Christ, receiving ordinances and covenants worthily, faithfully honoring them, and striving to be thoroughly converted to the Savior and His purposes. Fun is the result of "amusement", "playful [and] often cocky acting or talking" or pleasant diversion.10 A day on the Disneyland rides is fun. Delightful preparation and participation in the ordinance of the sacrament will bring joy.
Joy is mostly spiritual, fun is mostly temporal. Joy is mostly permanent, fun is mostly fleeting. Joy is mostly deep and enriching, fun is mostly superficial. Most of the time, joy fills us completely, while fun only partially fills us. Joy mainly affects earth life and eternity, fun only affects earth life.
It is so important for us never to confuse or exchange for the deep joy of faithful following of Christ for temporary and superficial fun.
The Savior is the absolute and only source of permanent and eternal joy. The prophet Jacob testified: “But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the holy ones of Israel, they who believed in the holy ones of Israel, they who endured the cross of the world and disregarded their abuse, they will inherit the kingdom of God, that was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy will be full forever. ”(2 Nephi 9:18; emphasis added).
The real source of joy
Thanks to God's plan and the Savior's Atonement, sincere repentance moves us to turn to and rely on Jesus Christ, the true source of joy. Please ponder how King Benjamin's people responded to his words about the Savior's Atonement:
“And now it came to pass that when King Benjamin had finished speaking the words which had been conveyed to him by the angel of the Lord, he let his eyes wander round about the multitude, and, behold, they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
And they had seen themselves in their own fleshly state, less than even the dust of the earth. And they all shouted aloud with one voice, saying: O be merciful and use the atoning blood of Christ, that we may receive forgiveness for our sins and our hearts may be made pure; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth and everything, who will come down among the children of men.
And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy and received forgiveness for their sins and had peace of conscience because of the exceedingly great faith they had in Jesus Christ who was to come ”(Mosiah 4: 1-3; emphasis added).
Thanks to God's plan and the Savior's Atonement, obedience moves us to follow Jesus Christ, the true source of joy. The Savior taught his disciples:
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and so that your joy may be perfect. ”(John 15:10, 11; emphasis added.)
“And no one receives abundance if he does not keep his commandments.
Those who keep their commandments receive truth and light until they are glorified in truth and know all ”(D&C 93: 27–28.)
Thanks to God's plan and the Savior's Atonement, through service we are moved to accept the character of Jesus Christ, the true source of joy. I recently read a quote from Kevin J. Worthen, President of Brigham Young University, about deep joy. He said, "I have come to believe that our eternal progress is measured, among other things, by how much joy we find in service."11
Alma the Younger said to his son Helaman: “From that time until now I have tried without ceasing to bring souls to repentance, to bring them to that overwhelming joy that I tasted so that they too might be born of God and filled with the Holy Spirit ”(Alma 36:24; italics added).
Think of Ammon's joy when he shared his missionary work among the Lamanites:
„My joy is full, Yes, my heart wants to overflow with joy, and I rejoice in my God. ...
See how many thousands of our brethren he has released from the torment of hell, and they have been made to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word that is within us - so we have not great reason to be pleased? …
Now this is my joy and my great thanks; yes, and I will give thanks to my God forever ”(Alma 26:11, 13–37; emphasis added).
Thanks to God's plan and the Savior's Atonement, difficulties and suffering move us to lift our eyes to Jesus Christ, the true source of joy (see Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 123: 1–2). Thanks to the precious perspective the restored gospel offers us, we can learn lessons from the adversities of earthly life that will prepare us for eternity. Our sorrows and misfortunes can be “swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (Alma 31:38) and consecrated for our gain (see 2 Nephi 2: 2) “that [our] actions may result in the well-being of [our] souls “(2 Nephi 32: 9). Thus, thanks to our knowledge of the Father's plan and the Savior's Atonement, joy continues through good times and bad times and experiences.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, obedience, service and the gospel view of the trials we face in earthly life move us all to come to the source of lasting joy, namely Jesus Christ. I ask that you identify, study, and prayerfully reflect on other principles by which we can receive this important spiritual gift of joy.
A joyous promise
Enduring joy is not a blessing reserved for a select few. Rather, any member of the Lord's restored Church who seeks to remember, honor, and keep the commandments of sacred covenants can receive that gift according to God's will and schedule. During this Christmas season, may each of us strive to receive the heavenly gift of joy in abundance. Meanwhile, may we begin to see with new eyes and hear with new ears "saints and angels sing" as we "join the sound of joy" and "worship God forever."12
I joyfully give you my firm testimony of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he truly lives.
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