What Is Joy?

The Greek word for joy is chara (χαρά). It is related to the word charis (χάρις), which means “grace.” Thus, Strong’s Concordance defines the term as “joy because of grace” or “the awareness of God’s grace.”

No wonder that Enos sought forgiveness of his sins after remembering his father’s words about “the joy of the saints” (Enos 1:3).

No wonder the people of King Benjamin were “filled with joy” when they “received a remission of their sins” (Mosiah 4:3).

No wonder Alma the Younger described his own experience of receiving forgiveness in these words:

Oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold….
There could be nothing so exquisite and bitter as were my pains…and…there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy (Alma 36:21).

No wonder Mormon described the reunion of Alma with the sons of Mosiah in words which linked their joy with their repentance:

This is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness (Alma 27:18).

Two of the speakers in general conference last weekend quoted the following statement from President Russell M. Nelson:

The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Joy of the Saints” and Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Fruit“).

Today, I will remember that joy is a recognition or awareness of God’s grace in my life. When I receive the grace of God through Jesus Christ, I feel joy regardless of the challenges I face. I will strive to stay close to my Savior, so that I can continue to experience “the joy of the saints.”

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