Updated: Feb 20, 2020
Joy. Just three letters. Only one syllable. Yet the presence or absence of this very fruit has the power to transform people in the blink of an eye. Imagine how different the rates of depression, anxiety, drug dependence, and suicide would be if this fruit of the spirit began to grow rampant among our hearts, like an ivy on a garden wall.
It’s easy to view this trait as more of a status to achieve or even a gift for a few selective people than a fruit. Something you either have or don’t. For example, you were born into a great family, married a handsome and talented man, birthed beautiful and healthy babies, so therefore you have also been given the gift of joy. Or on the contrary, you were born into poverty without a dime to your name, were abused and taken advantage of, had children out of wedlock, and now find yourself as an impoverished, single mother, with joy as a distant dream.
We live in a world that constantly flirts with “if I just had…”. Our children are surrounded with commercials, movies, and conversations that all give a taste of the longing for more. They are constantly sold the lie that says, “Joy can be yours if you make more money, drive an expensive car, have the body of a 22 year old at 70,” and the list goes on.
But here’s the truth that our children so desperately need to know. Joy is not something God grants to some, but not others. It’s for us all. The only reason we don’t walk in joy is because we choose not to accept it.
Look at just a few of about one hundred verses in the Bible that speak of this joy.
John 15:11 ESV These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Romans 15:13 ESV May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Psalm 4:7 ESV You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
Joy isn’t dependent on our circumstances, it’s dependent on our position. If we position ourselves with our face lifted towards heaven, our heart drawing towards him, and our faith unwavering, then joy is a promise. It’s almost like learning to live with your head in heaven while your feet are still on earth. We can choose to gain a heavenly perspective on our lives and circumstances and rejoice in all things like James 1:2 says; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.''
If we are going to teach our children about joy, we need to talk to them about the world’s incorrect view of joy, and how God’s joy isn’t reliant on our belongings and personal circumstances. We need to teach them that their joy can never be stolen, so long as it always comes from the Father.
For this lesson, I rifled through some of the kids’ old toys and picked a few that I knew they no longer played with. I sat them down and pulled up Amazon’s top toy list on the computer and let them scroll through, while watching them light up with excitement and desire. When they were finished I put their old toys on the table and asked them how they felt about these items in comparison. As their noses scrunched up and they let out their grumbles of dislike for their forgotten favorites, I led them in a discussion of how we quickly lose earthly delight. We talked about how funny it is that we can be overjoyed about a toy one day, and then completely forget about it a year later. This led us to conclude that the pursuit of earthly treasure is an unending cycle that will never produce eternal joy.
Also, our family decided to memorize Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”.
You can print this verse along with the complete family guide for the fruits of the spirit series which includes all other memory verse printables and family dinner discussion cards here!
Wishing you and your family more JOY as you continue through the series!
Continue on to lesson 3 on Peace!