There’s a somewhat dated acronym for how to live the Christian life. Put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. It’s easy to remember because it’s given as a recipe for JOY. Do things in this way, and you will have Joy. Or maybe it’s a marking-scheme: If you have true Joy, then Jesus will be first and you will be last.
Jesus certainly demanded that we put him first, and said that those who would be first will be last; although the command to love our neighbour is ‘as yourself’ (Lev19:18, Mt19:19) not ‘above yourself’ – something that needs to be balanced with ‘in humility value other above yourselves’ (Php2:3).
So, maybe JOY isn’t a recipe or a marking-scheme at all – just a memorable aphorism that reminds us to put Jesus first (as we should).
But Joy is important. Jesus had it, and he wants us to have it to. For the four Sundays over the summer we’re going to be looking at what the Bible says about Joy and allowing Jesus prayer “that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (Jn17:13) to be answered in us.