How do we teach our children joy?
Does Joy Come from Possessions?
The young family arriving on the beach was not happy. They climbed out of a new SUV with third-row seating, a DVD player for both back seats, and a roof rack full of surfboards. Their clothes, even though they would soon be soaked in salt water, were name brands. They unloaded gear for their day at the beach.
There must have been an argument on the drive to the beach because everyone looked grim. The parents weren’t speaking to each other. The teen son walked off by himself without helping unload causing the younger sister to complain about her brother. The father spoke a few harsh words to his daughter and walked toward his son. One had to wonder: They looked like they had it all; why were they not happy?
Joy Is a Fruit of the Spirit
A few yards down the beach another family arrived. Their car was old and small. There were three kids crowded into the back seat. Some of their gear was crammed in with them while the rest was in the trunk of the car. As they piled out of the car, they were laughing.
They gathered their gear on the ground by the car and divided it among them. Before they started to the beach, they paused and bowed their heads as Dad spoke quietly what appeared to be a prayer. Moments later they were whooping and racing to see who could get to the water’s edge first. This family had something better than happiness. They had joy.
How do we make joy part of our family’s DNA?
Paul said, “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:2 NIV) Although Paul was addressing a church, these words could speak to a family. When all family members are of the same mind and united in their love of Jesus, they will be a family where joy is complete. They will know a profound joy that comes from a loving relationship with Jesus and each other.
Questions: When have you experienced great joy? How is it different from happiness? What do you think is the secret of experiencing this fruit of the Spirit as a family?