The millennial generation has had more opportunities “to do what makes us happy,” but Gallop Market Research shows we are the least happy generation. Pursuing happiness—a temporary feeling based on what is happening—is not the answer. What we need is a joy that is independent of circumstances and always available based on our relationship with God.
The Bible Offers These Tools to Find More Joy:
- Be thankful for salvation. “May we shout for joy over your salvation”(Psalm 20:5, ESV). The joy of salvation is a gift from God that brings a lifetime of blessings. Sharing the overwhelming joy of knowing the Lord with others—especially those who live with us—has a multiplication effect. Make it a point to count your blessings as a family. Expressing gratitude as a bedtime routine can help end the day on a joyful note.
- Live in God’s presence. “In your presence there is fullness of joy”(Psalm 16:11, ESV). The remedy for joy deficiency is more time in God’s presence. First Chronicles 16:27 (NLT) says that “strength and joy fill his dwelling.” David discovered authentic joy from his time with God (Psalm 28:7). Teaching children to pray and study the Bible is a priceless inheritance from godly parents (John 16:24; Psalm 119:11). Reevaluate priorities and encourage behaviors that will invite God’s presence into family life.
- Speak wise words. “To make an apt answer is a joy”(Proverbs 15:23, ESV). A positive attitude and encouraging words are extensions of God’s joy. In contrast, negativity is an obstacle to joyful living. If children exhibit a pattern of negative thoughts or words, work with them to start new habits. Joyful families eliminate negative words from their vocabularies. We build up instead of tearing down.
- Be hopeful. “The hope of the righteous brings joy”(Proverbs 10:28, ESV). Hope is the anticipation that God will do something good! The guarantee of future glory brings joy (I Peter 4:13). Joyful families are not limited by the tangible. We recognize that God’s will for our family isn’t dependent on the resources of this world. When we develop the habit of anticipating God’s goodness, we will have joy!
- Surrender to the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is. . . joy”(Galatians 5:22, ESV). Growing the fruit of the Spirit will result in greater joy. If the Spirit is not producing joy in our family, something may be blocking the work of the Spirit. Ask the Lord to identify and remove anything that may stop His joy from flowing freely.
- Love Others. “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything” (II Corinthians 6:10, NLT). One of the greatest joys in life is caring for others. Jesus said if we love others, our joy will be complete (John 15:10–12). Blessing others produces joy! Joyful families are willing to share their time, talents, and service. Our mindset is to do the most we can with what we have.
- Trust God. “I pray that God. . . will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him”(Romans 15:13, NLT). We cultivate joy by confidently trusting God. God doesn’t promise that joy will make logical sense for the circumstance. He promises that He will provide it when we trust Him. James 1:2–4 describes life’s troubles as “an opportunity for great joy” (NLT) because it produces endurance and a testimony (II Corinthians 1:3–7).
MAKING IT PERSONAL
Brainstorm ways that you can start adding more joy producers into your daily routine.
Have there been difficult times in your life when you’ve had to choose joy? What are some ways you can help the children in your life do the same?
A version of this article was printed in Reflections.