If you’ve been a parent for very long, you know how your heart beams when your children play nicely with one another.
You could be enjoying this harmonious bliss of listening to your children playing, laughing, and sharing. And, the next minute? Suddenly, they begin hitting and spewing hurtful words at one another! What happened? Happy one minute and angry the next.
Unfortunately, not much changes when we become adults. While we may not fling a stapler across a coworker’s desk, we certainly may think or say things in the heat of the moment that we regret later. Emotions like happiness and anger are fleeting and unpredictable. Joy, on the other hand, is the foundation for all other emotions. It’s the bedrock that keeps us together in emotion-filled situations where we could potentially unravel. Jesus is the only one who can open our eyes to see His glory. When He does, we experience His perfect joy.
You can’t fake joy; you either have it or you don’t.
It’s the fruit of the Spirit. Joy is a deep sense of assurance that God’s got us! It’s a peaceful confidence and surrender to the Lord’s plan for our lives.
This is something we want for our children, isn’t it? When our children understand that Jesus is the source of real joy, something truly amazing and life-changing will take place. When our children understand this foundational truth, they can have peace and praise God through everything — good and bad. Our joy spreads when we share it with others. Joy wasn’t meant to be kept all to ourselves.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to see God’s beauty in all situations, allowing JOY to well up in our hearts supernaturally. It’s an in-explainable case study set up next to the reasoning of the world.
Proverbs 8:32-35 says,
And so, My children, listen to Me, for all who follow My ways are JOYFUL. Listen to My instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to Me, watching for Me daily at My gates, waiting for Me outside My home! For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.
Below are six simple ways we can talk with our children about where joy can be found.
6 Ways We Can Teach Our Children to Find Joy:
1) Joy is found in avoiding evil and sinful ways. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Our children may be tempted to follow their peers that are choosing evil instead of good. While sin may be deceitfully appealing, its ways end in death. Talk about how the person’s life that avoids evil is like a fruitful tree along a riverbank!
2) Joy is found in following God’s commandments. (Psalm 19:8)
God says that following His ways brings joy to the heart and great insight. Remind your children that following God’s commandments brings joy and wisdom.
3) Joy is found in having integrity. (Psalm 119:1-3)
We can talk with our children about integrity. Integrity is a knowledge of right and wrong and not swaying from that path no matter what (even when others are not around).
4) Joy is found in trusting the Lord.
The Bible is filled with verses that speak about the joy God wants to give us we choose to trust in Him. (Proverbs 16:20)
The Bible says that joy is found in those that listen and trust what God says.
5) Joy is found in receiving God’s help. (Psalm 28:7)
This verse speaks about the Lord being our strength and shield. This implies that He is our protector and guider. When we believe this and see His power at work in our lives, this fills our heart with joy and peace!
6) Joy is found in trials. (James 1:2-4)
This seems like the opposite of what the world tells us. The world will tell our children that looking out for themselves and having all the things this world has to offer brings true happiness. But, according to the Bible, trials help us turn hard situations into moments of great blessing! Only God can do that! When our faith is tested, it gives us opportunity for our endurance to grow. Talk with your child about how training for a marathon stretches our muscles and builds are physical endurance. Although painful in the moment, it pushes us to be stronger and run further.
Sarah Young has a new devotional out called Jesus Always for Kids. This is a 365-day devotional for children. It focuses on the biblical teachings of the joy we can experience at any time and in all circumstances. If joy is a topic you’d like to meditate on and talk about with your children throughout the year, this might be the perfect gift for them! It is a wonderful choice for families to read and discuss during family devotion time; especially if you have children struggling to find contentment and joy.
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Where do you find joy? How do you help your kids find it? Is it helpful to know that joy can be found, not faked? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!