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As the popular acronym goes, JOY stands for “Jesus, Others, You.” It’s a simple but powerful reminder of the priorities we should have in life. But what does joy mean in the context of our faith? And how can we experience true joy in Jesus?
In Hebrew, the word for joy is “simcha.” It’s not just a feeling of happiness or pleasure, but a deep sense of gladness and delight that comes from knowing and experiencing God’s goodness. In the Old Testament, joy is often associated with celebration, singing, and dancing. It’s a response to God’s faithfulness and salvation.
But joy is not just an Old Testament concept. In the New Testament, we see that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s a characteristic of a life lived in close relationship with God. And who better to fix our eyes on than Jesus, the source of true joy?
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Jesus is the one who gives us hope, peace, and joy that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). When we focus on him, we’re reminded of his love, his grace, and his power to transform our lives.
So how can we cultivate joy in Jesus? Here are a few suggestions:
- Spend time with Jesus in prayer and study of the Bible. The more we know him, the more we can trust him and find joy in him.
- Choose to focus on the good things God is doing in your life. Thank him for his blessings and look for ways to celebrate his goodness.
- Serve others in Jesus’ name. Joy often comes when we put others’ needs before our own and see the impact we can have on their lives.
- Worship and praise God regularly. Singing, dancing, and expressing our love for him can help us experience joy in a deeper way.
As we fix our eyes on Jesus and seek to live a life that honors him, we can experience true joy that lasts. Let’s make JOY a priority in our lives and trust that God will fill us with his joy and peace.
Object Lesson: Finding Joy in Jesus
- A large glass jar with a lid
- Cooking oil
- Food coloring (optional)
- A small toy or trinket
Fill the jar about 2/3 full with water. If desired, add a drop of food coloring to the water layer to make it more visible.
Pour a layer of cooking oil on top of the water. It should form a separate layer on top.
Drop the small toy or trinket into the jar. It should sink to the bottom of the water layer.
Close the lid tightly on the jar and shake it vigorously.
As you shake the jar, you’ll notice the oil and water mix together and create swirling patterns. But when you stop shaking, the oil rises to the top and separates from the water again. The toy or trinket remains at the bottom of the water layer.
This jar is like our lives. Sometimes we feel like our emotions and circumstances are all mixed up, and we can’t find joy. But when we focus on Jesus, he can help us find joy again. Just like the oil rises to the top, Jesus can lift us up and give us joy that lasts.
Here are a few discussion questions to ask the kids:
- Have you ever felt like your emotions were all mixed up? How did you find joy again?
- How can we focus on Jesus when we feel sad or upset?
- What are some things that bring us joy in Jesus?
- How can we share our joy with others?
You can end the object lesson by praying together and thanking God for the joy we can find in Jesus.