Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.(Philippians 4:4 ESV)
Along with faith and being kept safe, joy is something I regularly ask God to give my kids.
Having struggled myself to find joy and knowing how hard it is to cling to faith in the absence of joy, I am convinced that fighting for joy is a very important part of being Christian. I desire for my children to have as much help in this fight as they can.
I am not asking for superficial happiness – that will come and go without any lasting effect. What they need is the joy of the Lord giving deep and lasting satisfaction in their souls (Nehemiah 8:10).
Such joy acts as a buffer against the trials and temptations of the world which are constant and ever new. It is impossible to protect our children against all the temptations or difficulties they will face, but if they are rejoicing in Christ as they face difficulties their faith in Jesus will remain stronger.
I’m sure I could do a much better job of teaching, encouraging and modelling joy to my kids. At least faithfully asking God to put joy in their hearts is a good start and without God’s action my own are useless.
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Image of joyful girl: iStockphoto