The fruit of the Spirit: joy includes a teaching on the fruit of the Spirit JOY as well as a fruit of the Spirit JOY lesson, craft, and coloring page.
A teaching on the fruit of the spirit – joy
Jesus told three stories about lost things: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In the stories, each one is lost for a different reason.
In the first story, the sheep wanders away because it is foolish. In the next story, the coin just rolls away and gets lots. In the story of the prodigal son, the son takes his dad’s money and runs away.
We are like all of those things, at some point in our lives.
Sometimes we’re just foolish, like that sheep. We make a dumb choice and it gets us into trouble. Maybe you choose to hang out with a friend who is lots of fun but steals little things from other kids. After a while, you forget it’s wrong to steal, so you join in.
Sometimes we forget about God and roll away, like the coin. Our daily lives get busy with sports and schoolwork and friends and we forget God wants to spend time with us.
Other times, we choose to sin and run away from God, like the prodigal son. You might choose to be mean to an annoying kid instead of showing love.
In each of Jesus’s stories, someone goes on a rescue mission: a shepherd, a woman, and a father running from his house. That character represents God, rescuing people who are lost and need his love. He looks for us whether we’re foolish, forgetful, or disobedient.
But I think the best part of each story is that the rescuer rejoices when their rescue mission is successful. In the story of the prodigal son, the dad even throws a huge party. This reminds us that God doesn’t come rescue us so he can lecture us. He wants us back because it brings him joy.
God loves us so deeply, and he knows that when we understand his love, our hearts and lives will change, and we’ll want to love our enemies, spend time with him, and choose kindness. This brings him deep joy, and it overflows into our hearts, bringing us joy as well. What could be better than joining God on the rescue mission?
*This devotion is featured in my book, “Fruit Full: 100 Family Experiences for Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit” and is used here with permission. See the book on Amazon.
Fruit of the Spirit JOY Bible verses
It might not be obvious from the Scriptures that Jesus was joyful, but if one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy, he must have been joyful. These Bible verses on the joy seen in Jesus are a great addition to any study on the topic.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.Matthew 9:10, 14-15 NIV
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.Matthew 13:44-46 NIV
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.Luke 15:22-24 NIV
A fruit of the spirit JOY lesson plan for children
Use this fruit of the Spirit: JOY lesson plan for Sunday School or at home!
SAY: Close your eyes and think about things that make you feel happy. How many can you think of? Do you feel that feeling? That is just a tiny part of what God’s joy is all about. Let’s learn more about God’s joy.
Have children look up and read Luke 15:22-24. Then, share the above devotional with them. If they don’t know the three parables mentioned, summarize them briefly then move on to the main point: JOY!
ASK: If God threw a party for you, what would it look like? How can you join God on his rescue mission?
Thank you, God, that you rejoice over us when we turn back to you. May your joy spill over into our hearts so we can be part of your great rescue mission. Amen.
4. Fruit of the Spirit JOY activities to mix and match:
- To help the point of the lesson really connect, hide some items around the class/house. They could be play coins, cotton balls (to represent the sheep), toy people, or even something truly valuable to children (like chocolate coins!) Have children shout “hooray!” each time they find an item. Remind children that God wants us to be “found” because it brings him joy!
- Divide kids into 3 groups and have each group act out one of the parables. Use props if desired.
- Create a fun poster of Psalm 126:2
- Draw a joyful picture for God
- Make up a song of joy for God
- Play the “ha” game. The first person says “ha,” the second person says “haha,” and you keep adding one ha after another until you are all giggling!
A JOY coloring page
Download and print this entire package of fruit of the Spirit coloring pages and activities, including this JOY coloring page featuring Psalm 126:2.