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.
SEVEN PRACTICAL PRINCIPLES FOR BRINGING JOY INTO YOUR CHILD’S WORLD
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.