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The Physiology of Joy

"Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).

​Physiologists know that when we experience joy, powerful chemicals are released into parts of our brain. MRI and PET scans have also revealed some of the physiological changes that accompany our joy and happiness. Do those physiological changes in the brain cause the joy? Or does the joy cause the changes? Or is it a mixture of both?

Whatever happens physiologically, we human beings need joy. And in a world with a lot of pitfalls, where we seem to live on a precipice of constant sorrow, joy can be fleeting and a difficult thing to find.

But here's where our text for today comes in-and the promise found in it. These words were spoken specifically to Jesus' disciples in the context of His forthcoming death. He knew that His death would, at first, cause them to "have sorrow," but that later, after all that happened, their hearts "[would] rejoice" (John 16:22). 

And what He promises you is that you can likewise trust Him, you can pray in His name, and you can do so knowing that He is a God of love who will do what is best for you. Thus, He tells you to ask so that you may receive, knowing that "your joy may be full."

Joy, maybe not because of immediate circumstances; joy, maybe not because of the trials ahead of you; but joy because of who God is and how He relates to you. Dwell on Jesus and His promises to you, and you will know joy in the Lord.

( Prayer )
Lord Jesus, fill me with the joy that comes only from You.

For Further Study: Psalm 63:5; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Philippians 4:4


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