In fifth grade, my beloved teacher, Miss Sullivan, taught her curious class of 11-year-olds that in order to define a certain word, one should never use the word itself in the definition. The rule that Miss Sullivan taught all of her eager students is an accepted grammatical rule that most savvy writers and wordsmiths follow implicitly.
However, I have discovered, it is nearly impossible to define the word “joy” without using the word itself in the definition.
The Hebrew definition of the word simchah is: “joy, mirth, gladness; the joy of God.”
The Greek definition of the word chara, is: “joy, gladness; the cause of occasion of one’s joy.”
Due to my frustration at being a grammar elitist and knowing that substance is lacking by using a word in its own definition, I decided to dig a bit deeper and to valiantly endeavor to discover the root definition of the word “joy.”
“Joy wrought by the Holy Spirit” was a definition that resonated a bit stronger in my frustrated soul because at least it gave some credit to the Holy Spirit.
And then, at last, I came upon this definition from a Hebrew dictionary I found among my father’s archaic library: “the blessedness that the Lord enjoys around the throne of God Himself.”
Although this definition uses a derivative of joy in the word “enjoys," I found myself completely agreeing with this ancient meaning found among stacks of dusty, dog-eared books.
Joy is the atmosphere of heaven. It is the air God the Father Himself breathes in every day of eternity. And because joy is heaven’s delivered gift to me while I walk on planet earth, it is my delight and strength to experience the blessedness that God on His throne enjoys.
Wow ... put that in your heart and marinate in it!
Joy is God’s gift to us as we snuggle into His presence and hunker down into all that He is and all that He gives.
Joyful Thought to Ponder: What are some practical disciplines you can build into your life in order to “hang onto your joy”?