Gospel Talks, Short Stories, and Essays
A SHORT ESSAY ON JOY
[This short essay on Joy was presented by John E. Enslen at a family home evening on April 4, 2021.]
Why do I even exist? The Lord has answered that question with this statement: “Men are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25) The very purpose of my existence is to experience joy. In others words, God wants me to be filled with joy, like He is, and that’s the reason he has created me.
There is a profound difference between pleasure, on the one hand, and joy, on the other hand. Pleasure originates in worldliness, and is born of self-indulgence, which fosters, or even produces, wastefulness of resources, vanity, pride, and ill health. Pleasure is temporary and thrives on fleeting excitement and chaos. Pleasure most often starts in the dark and thrives in the late night. Pleasure is associated with prosperity and consumes resources. Pleasure is not earned, but rather must be purchased.
On the other hand, joy is born of unselfishness, integrity, service, kindness, and hard work. Joy fosters, or even produces, contentment, peace, calmness, and brightness of hope. Joy is centered in the home and on the beauties of the ordinary. Joy is independent of both poverty and prosperity, but encourages thrift and industry. Joy can never be bought with money. It must be earned by using our God-given moral agency to make right choices.
The Savior has given us the only true plan for enduring joy. It is called the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is announced to us with tidings of great joy. The opportunities for joy that the gospel provides are free to everyone.
We will not obtain an enduring and lasting joy in this life. In mortality, it comes in spurts as we live the divine laws upon which joy is predicated. However, in the life to come, we can live in the presence of God and have the fullness of everlasting joy which God desires for each of us. (See Psalm 16:11)