We probably all have at least one person in our lives who just seems to always be joyful, no matter what’s going on in life. The smile on his or her face isn’t just for show. It’s real. What makes them different? By the grace of God, those of us who have put our faith in Christ can all be that person in the lives of those around us because Jesus paid it all for us. It’s not always easy but remember, the joy doesn’t come from you. It comes from God, the source of all good things. He is the one who can create you to be a joyful example for others.
MEMORY VERSE: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice!" Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
In the early church, there was a man named Philip who followed the Lord and joyfully shared the good news that Jesus paid it all with anyone he met. One day, the Lord told Philip to head south down the road and, while he was traveling, God allowed him to meet an Ethiopian who was reading from the book of Isaiah where God promised a Messiah for His people. The Ethiopian asked Philip to explain what Isaiah was talking about because he wanted to understand. God used Philip to share the good news that Jesus paid it all. The Ethiopian believed and he, too, was filled with joy!
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
At dinner this week read Acts 16:25-34 to your family about Paul and Silas in prison. Was their circumstance easy or hard? Were they a joyful example to others? How? What happened when they shared the joy of the Lord with the jailer? Encourage your kids that no matter what is going on in our lives, we can still have joy from the Lord and be a joyful example to others. Thank God for being your source of joy and ask Him to give you the opportunity to share His joy with others.
While driving with your family, ask your kids if there are people in their lives that they would describe as joyful. What makes them joyful? Is it what they do? What they say? Their personality? Ask your kids what it’s like to be around joyful people like them. Talk about some of the places that they go to regularly, maybe even point them out while you’re driving. Remind your kids that no matter where you go, whether it’s school, a friend’s house or the grocery store, God is calling us to be a joyful example to others. Talk about some simple ways you can do that wherever you’re currently headed!
As you are putting your family to bed for the night, review the memory verse together, Philippians 4:4. Ask your kids when they can be full of joy. (Always!) Where is our joy found? (In the Lord) Ask your kids if they can think of a time that might be hard for them to have joy the next day. Pray together for those times and that God would give them joy so they can be a joyful example for others, even when it’s hard.
As you are getting your family ready for the day, remind your kids that they have an opportunity to be a joyful example to others! Challenge everyone to find one person they can be an example of joy to that day. Have everyone share their story with the whole family at dinner.
Thank God for sharing His joy with you and for Jesus who did pay it all for us on the cross. Ask Him to help you respond to others with joy, wherever you may be this week. Ask Him to help you follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and love the people He has put in your path.
Next week we will start the month of March with the godly character trait, PEACE. We will learn that peace comes through trusting God.
Image via Flickr CreativeCommons