Summary: Bringing joy into your child’s life should be a nojor emphasis of your parenting in order to draw them to the source of all joy - Jesus.


TEXT: No specific text. Usually I preach an exegetical message on 1 passage, but it is entirely appropriate at times to also explore a topic in scripture as well. That’s what I want to do tonight. Basically, tonight is an application of God’s command in Deuteronomy 11:19-28. He teaches us there are blessings that flow from obedience and following God and curses from choosing to rebel. This revelation from God comes immediately following His command to teach our children His statutes throughout the process of living with them everyday. That is where they learn to have joy – from walking with God.

Philippians 2 speaks of a similar idea: living with “the mind of Christ.” (Phil 2:1-5). Proverbs and Ecclesiastes teach of biblical wisdom that comes as a character and mindset of following God. Folks today do not study scripture individually as they used to and so do not live wise, biblical lifestyles. There is an innate wisdom and way of living that comes simply from being deeply rooted in scripture. It even infiltrates every area of your mind.

A topical study like this is designed to do 2 things: 1) show you more practical teachings about joy, but 2) challenge you to evaluate the way you view life – has scripture so permeated your mind and heart that you think with the mind of Christ.

Why Joy? We have talked last week and this a.m. about sin and submission to God’s plan. That side is covered. Joy is the flip side of the same coin. The Christian life is a life of joy. It is entered into by repentance and then maintained by a life of obedience, but it is a life of joy. A basic and important biblical principle.

So inherent that God made the garden of Eden. So much a part of God’s character that when satan brought his challenge there to the character of God – he tried to lie to eve and say God had held out the real joy. Repentance is seeking a return of the joy lost out of life. Psalm 51 david said, “Return to me the joy of my salvation.” When the children of Israel reinstated worship, preaching in Jerusalem after Nehemiah rebuilt the wall, he taught them that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

So much so that Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you, I have spoken so that my joy might remain in you and your joy might be full.” John . Joy is in fact a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5: 22 and other passages state this clearly.

Therefore, it is important to teach them and show them joy.

I want to give you 6 practical principles with examples. But you must exert real energy and creativity in your life to teach your children in this manner. In fact, why do church kids rebel? 2 major reasons: 1) their parents’ faith is fake and hypocritical, and 2) no joy so it looks that way.

1 You must lead them to salvation in Jesus

Nothing is more important! Where does joy, life, and blessing come from? From following Jesus. Deut. 11 is God trying to teach the children of Israel that truth in O.T. times. Jesus fulfilled that teaching and salvation in Him is how to choose those blessings and avoid the curse of sin. No joy outside of Jesus.

You must intentionally prepare yourself to do this. It is your responsibility to witness to your children and not someone else’s.

2 You must disciple them to walk with Jesus

John 10:10, “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Where is that life? In a life well spent living for Jesus. Where does tragedy come from in a child’s life? Poor decisions. One decision can change a child’s life forever. One time of sex, one drink, one hit of meth, one time getting into a car with a friend impaired by drugs/alcohol. Their life is irrevocably altered.

You must turn your child into a warrior for Jesus or the enemy will take them captive forever!!!!!! Remember I Peter 5:8-9. This is learned through discipleship.

If a child has a healthy fear and awe of God, combined with a joyful home life that is an example of God’s blessings, then it will be hard for the devil to get them. Too much to lose to follow him. Too much to gain in following Jesus. But you must model and teach this to your children.

3 Intentionally search for ways to bring joy and laughter into your lives

Proverbs 17: 22; 15: 13-15. Note also the comparison between the merry of the wise and the foolishness of fools.

Eccles. 3: time for every purpose under the sun … a time to laugh.

• make things fun – lots of music, we sing in the car, everywhere.

• Traveling – we used Odessey stories

• My dad brought silliness to our lives – wonderful. He does the same for our kids.

• Gra-gra’s(grandfather’s pet name) skittles bank. He believes life is better when you can walk in and go to the skittles bank. Kids love to go there.

• We have family comedy movie nights, as an intentional focus. We love to get together and laugh.

4 Big, special events

This one is underrated. Way underrated. God often used special events– Lord’s Supper; baptism; OT sacrifices. Many of the O.T. ceremonies were designed to bring joy and do so with a grandeur. Remember when David brought back music and celebration to the sacrificial ceremony. He knew that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

NOTE: This isn’t about dollar signs! Let me say again: Is not about big $$$$$!!! Use what you have, toys they already want get or need, vacations, etc. Let me say this and hear me clearly: Most of the stuff we get, we try to blame the kids by saying “this is for the family.” Be honest – that’s for you. Kids do not know about lake houses, hunting, or razorback season tickets. They do not even care whether they get those if they have a deep relationship with you.

• my family camped. We weren’t rich and our family lived out giving deep sacrifices for church and Christian school(dad 2 jobs my entire life). But we had great vacations. Family time. Mom was not an outdoor person, but she sacrificed for us and went. Fellas – dad made it palatable for her so it would work for all of us

• Birthdays.

• Told you before about epic battles w/ GI Joe. We would block out en entire day. You collect all of the Barbies and GI Joes you can lay your hands on, along with all of the stuff you can gather for them. We had one with 35 figures, 20 vehicles of all sorts, and countless paraphernalia. We went on safaris, battled poachers, floated rapids, etc. We climbed Mount Everest and established an undersea colony. On one event, we covered almost on acre of on parent’s property. Another time we built an entire town covering two thirds of the ground floor of our home. A wingback recliner moved to the middle of a den and covered with sheets created a “volcano” which blew up that fateful and threatened the town. We fought the forest fires, battled the lava, and set up a field hospital where we doctored people back to health all day long. What type of events have you created for your kids they will remember forever?

• Special weekends. Cheap hotel w/ pool and stayed for one night w/ picnic supper/breakfast in the room or by the pool.

• Every Christmas we rounded up our kids and their best friends and attended a local theater production of Chronicles of Narnia.

5 Help your children accomplish something

Kids need to learn and develop self-confidence and an understanding of who they are – especially boys! They also have a deep seated desire for you to be proud of them. Talk about joy – it is a well-done” from dad and mom, but especially dad.

• decorate their room

• attend graduations and make a big deal

• do projects together

• take them with you to work

• as they age – not less important, but more important. Fixing vehicles; cooking for the family; learning to drive;

• take your children on a mission trip – 1 reason so important. Do not tell me how much you love your kids and desire for them to walk with Jesus and then you never make the sacrifice/commitment to go with them on a mission trip. How could you not do that?

6 Memories and Traditions

Jewish faith was a tradition rich environment. Churches are as well. Family Lord’s Supper; Immanuel service; telling the Christmas story on stage in big church the Sunday before Christmas; etc.

Your family should be also. Make your set of traditions for your family. Some should be fun. Some should be teaching oriented. Some should be relational. These all establish “stones of remembrance” with great value to your children.

7 Develop an individual relationship

Psalm 139 – God’s relationship and planning for us is personal. Ephesians 2:8-10. Christ died for you! Be fair with your kids but do over worry about being equal. Be unique and special with each one of them.

Proverbs 22:6 “according to his bent” - your child is an individual.

You must parent them individually. We were all three different. I’m compliant, but “howl at the moon.” My brother – practical, rugged individualist. My sister is girly, but seriously type A. We did differently in school, grades, homework styles, etc. Drove my parents nuts, but they worked with us as individuals. My dad especially so with my brother and my mom with my sister.

* mealtime relational times

* bedtime best relational, personal time

* date your kids

* events with them in particular. We will plan shopping trips, weekends in the home, etc. to get time with each child individually

* take them with you to run errands, I know quicker without them, but they are more important than the leaking faucet. They ask questions. Here they act silly. Here is an opportunity to create an “accomplishment moment” – Dad, can I help?

Joy is a key in their lives. Joy is the promise of God for walking with Jesus. When they find joy at home and in their relationship with you, it is far easier for them to see ad believe that Jesus is the source of that joy.