Fruit of the Spirit (2 of 9) – Joy

Joy - Grapes

This is what we did for our second week of in-depth study of the fruits of the spirit.  I have really enjoyed focusing in on a particular fruit and thinking through it all week.  Oh, how I need more fruit in my life!  More love, more joy. . .

This is good, but difficult stuff!  Not just because of how challenging the subject matter is, but because of how challenging it is to boil these broad ideas down into a study suitable for a 4-year-old.  It’s tough enough for a 30-year old brain to process what joy is and how we can keep it!

Trying to determine what the opposite is in a single word and finding a single scripture that illustrates how Jesus perfectly displayed the fruit, has been much harder than I imagined it would be.  As always, I would love any input or suggestions for improvement you may have!

If you missed the introduction, you can read it here.

Opposite

Sadness

God’s Command

“Be joyful always.” (1 Thes 5:16)

When we believe in Jesus we “are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (1 Peter 1:8) We’re not only joyful when we’re having good days (like on church days or birthdays or vacations), but we can even be joyful when we face trials (when we’re sick, when we don’t get to go someplace we want to go, when we lose something special).  That’s because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And when we’ve developed perseverance, we’ll be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:1-4) God works all things (even the hard circumstances, bad days, and disappointments) together for our good.  Knowing this helps us to be joyful even in the middle of hard things.

Jesus’ Perfect Obedience

“In view of the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” (Hebrews 12:2, God’s Word Translation)

Jesus knew that God was working the all bad things happening to Him on the cross for His good and for the good of all the people He loved.  Jesus knew that once He shed his blood and died, He would be finished with the work of reconciling His people to God.  The people He loved would no longer be enemies of God, but would be forgiven!  That gave Him joy even though He was in tremendous pain and completely alone.

Story

The Giving Tree (by Shel Silverstein)

Some people have all kinds of things that we might think would bring joy.  In this story, the boy gets money, and a house, and a boat, but none of it gave him lasting joy.  He kept coming back to the tree sad.  This shows that the Bible is true.  It says “the joy of the godless lasts only for a moment.” (Job 20:5)  True and lasting joy only comes from being close to God. (Psalm 16:11)  We can’t find joy apart from Him.

Activity

Bake cookies, muffins, or a cake.  Taste small bits each of the ingredients by itself before you mix them all together.  Most of the ingredients don’t taste good by themselves, but when we mix them all together and bake them, something wonderful happens. Somehow all of those things that weren’t tasty on their own, come together and become good.

It’s just like the different circumstances of our lives.  God works all of them together for our good so that we become like the cookie.  If God left any of those bitter or untasty things out, we wouldn’t be perfect and complete; we’d be lacking things!

Let’s pray that God will remind us of this cookie when we are tempted to be sad about our circumstances.  Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to be joyful even in trials as we trust that God will work all things together for good.

Song

Joy (To Be Like Jesus CD – Listen to a sample here)

Song Lyrics

When I am lonely or feeling bad
When things don’t go my way
When my heart’s broken and I am sad
And tears won’t go away
That’s when I turn my eyes to You, Jesus

Joy, You fill me with
Joy, You fill me with
Joy, Jesus
Joy, You fill me with
Joy, You fill me with
Joy, Jesus
You are always with me
You alone can give me
Joy

When my heart’s happy, my face is, too
And I have joy to share
It comes from knowing Your words are true
And I am in Your care
And when I turn my eyes to you, Jesus

More “Schoolish” Stuff

(These lessons will need to be customized based on where you are scholastically.  Here are some of the things we did to give you some ideas.)

Color a fruit worksheet labeled with the word “joy.” Our grape coloring page is here.

Pick a letter (or letters) to write.  You can print out great letter worksheets at Starfall, like this one for the letter J (for joy, of course!)

Practice handwriting by writing a verse.  I customized a worksheet here, with the words “Joy” and “Sadness” as well as the verse “Be joyful always. 1 Thes 5:16” Madeline traced the words and was able to practice a little independent writing too.

Talk about short vowels. (When a vowel is followed by a consonant, it is short.  Like the a in sad, e in set, i in sin, o in hot, u in fun) There are all kinds of great short vowel resources at Starfall.  Here is a sample of what they have just for the short a:

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