My friends, welcome to the “That They Might Have Joy” series! I’ve been super excited to share these messages with you since the inspiration came to me back in October! The “That They Might Have Joy” series is meant to elevate our thinking about our purpose here on earth and how we can incorporate and find joy in every stage of our lives. The goal of this series is to lead you to a greater understanding that joy is achievable and that it changes our pattern of thinking whether it is a mundane task versus a big challenge or decision that lurks in the near or not so near future. How do we remain focused and find joy in Jesus Christ? How do we turn to Him and strive to keep His example and His vision for our lives? How DO we learn to seek for joy when joy seems to be grim? We will explore and answer these questions throughout the next few months.
To understand why joy is so important, we have to turn to the Fall of Adam and Eve.
2 Nephi 2:19-28
19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.
20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.
21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they were banished from the garden, mortality began, the true test of mortality began (whether or not all of us would keep the commandments and utilize Christ’s Atonement when we needed repentance), and children were brought into this world. Notice in verse twenty-three that misery was the contrast necessary to recognize the existence of JOY. Everything has an opposite. It is hard to say what kind of emotions were experienced in the Garden of Eden. Verse twenty-three gives us a glimpse that because of their state of innocence, there was a lack of contrast. Their banishment from the garden proved to be a blessing in disguise for them, so that they COULD learn to recognize good from evil, joy versus misery, etc. It was also a blessing in disguise for all of us because God’s spirit children finally had the opportunity to be brought into mortality as well. We are here now thanks to Adam and Eve!
God had a plan. The plan had to move forward. The plan had a solution for the original sin. That solution was Jesus Christ’s Atonement. Verse twenty-five is the focus of this series: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” So the next time you ask yourself, why am I here and why am I experiencing life? The answer is: to have joy! A fullness of joy can be found only through the Savior. That is why His message—His gospel—can fill our souls with joy, no matter what the circumstance. As we go through life, we must make choices. Those choices will bring us closer or farther away from the Savior and Heavenly Father. Our test is to “choose liberty and eternal life” through the Savior or to “choose captivity and death” through Satan. My favorite part of the above verses is in verse twenty-eight, where we are challenged to choose eternal life. You see, joy is a choice. When we choose to do what is right, a sense of fulfillment can enter our hearts. When we choose to be obedient to the commandments, we receive the blessings that are promised unto us.
When we choose to walk the path towards eternal life, we are promised a guide to help us along the way.
13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
As the Spirit leads us in the pathways of life, our minds can be enlightened and our souls can be filled with joy. Through the goodness and mercy of God, we are entitled to a life of joy and not a life of misery! I encourage you to ponder today’s message and list the ways in which the Fall of Adam and Eve has actually blessed your life. What are you thankful for in life? What are your hopes and dreams? How close are you to the path that God designed for you? If you’re currently off the path, will you turn to Christ, ask for forgiveness, and ask for help so that the Spirit can guide you back on the path? If you’re currently on the path, what can you do to closely follow the Spirit’s guidance and remain obedient?
I look forward to our discussions pertaining to joy! Please feel free to comment below and share this post with your loved ones!