I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. (CEV) John 15:11
The apostle Paul prayed that God would fill the Roman church with joy and peace because of their faith. We too pray that the Holy Spirit would fill our children with hope, peace, and joy. How can we help our children build a relationship with God that leads to a joyful life?
Finding that joy can be hard for us to wrap our own heads around, let alone live out in our daily lives. The world teaches us that happiness comes from what we have: lots of friends, high grades, sports trophies, and all the toys. These voices fight against the joy that comes from a relationship with God. If we point out these contradicting cultural voices to our children, we show them that immediate pleasure doesn't equal joy.
We are our children’s first teachers. How can we model what having joy in God looks like in our daily lives? Self-reflect on your own joy and ask these questions:
What am I doing to build my relationship with God?
How do I know that God has good plans for me?
Where is my joy when life gets hard?
Joy in all things
Some children equate joy with positive experiences and sadness with negative experiences. Yet God can use any situation to bring joy.
The global pandemic, restrictions, and shutdowns took a lot out of us, and many of us lost some of our joy then. Kids were tired of online Zoom classes and the inability to spend time with friends in person or participate in sports. Ask them how they felt about what happened in the world around them then and what’s happening today. Show them that it’s okay to have big feelings, and then, bring them back to the truth of God's Word. We can acknowledge the weariness, fear, and disappointment, and then lean into Scripture passages to show God’s hope, complete happiness, and peace:
We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him (Romans 8:28a).
But [God] replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak” (2 Corinthians 12:9a).
My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything (James 1:2-4).
God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble. And so, we won’t be afraid! (Psalm 46:1-2a).
Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:39b).
You may find that as your child’s joy in the Lord grows, your joy becomes complete as well.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article 8 Keys to Living a Joyful Life