This image is from my prayerwalk on the beach collection that helps remind me joy comes in the morning (Ps. 30:5) Each day is a new day in the Lord. In this 16-9 blog, the “9” in the 16-9 Movement is learning to display the Fruit of the Spirit in a public school classroom while honoring the laws of our great nation. Have you ever noticed that the 9 fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” are really the fruit of the Spirit (singular). When we truly live out our faith, all 9 fruit are exuded as one. I don’t know about you, but, displaying all the fruit at once, just doesn’t happen for me. However, I know that it is God’s will for us to display His fruit, His way, by depending on His Holy Spirit to enable us. As we seek to display all fruit collectively, I would like to take the classroom-eye view of what it looks like to have JOY in the classroom.
Joy is defined as the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; elation and a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated. When applied to our classrooms, it actually defines part of our high calling. We take great delight or experience happiness when something good or satisfying occurs. There is keen pleasure for our students and classes when learning takes place and students are achieving. The whole reason we become a teacher is to make a difference and when we do, that’s joy! Perhaps one of the greatest reasons teachers don’t see their high calling or get discouraged is because the joy of impact is not always apparent. Students don’t necessarily tell us that they understand. Many times we don’t even know if they “get it” until they are tested and too often we don’t even realize how much we meant to them until years later. Isadora Duncan said, “I do not teach children. I give them joy.” Being joyful and giving joy are symbiotic. How can we as Christian educators be purposeful about giving joy?
Rather than a state of mind, I would like to have us consider joy as a gift to give. Walking in our classrooms each day, taking time to pray for joy and asking God’s help to give joy on purpose is an awesome way to begin the school year and each and every day throughout. These are a few simple questions we can start with as we arrive in our classrooms: How can I give joy today to my students? How can I display the fruit of joy in my life? How can I spread joy to my colleagues and administration? Being joyful is contagious and often brings a sense of curiosity to others. Their wonderment of how you can be so happy in difficult times as well as good times can only be answered by being Jesus with skin on. I think of the thousands that Jesus purposely touched with joy and how they were better for their encounter with Him. Are our students better because of their encounter with us? Do we display the joy of the Lord in our lives? Only with the power of His Spirit, of course. When we do, we display the fruit of joy, against which there is no law!
As I looked up joy in the Word, I was delighted to see hundreds of times this powerful word was used, but was most impressed with the shouts of joy given by God’s people for what He had done for them. Let us be teachers of the Book and have shouts of joy in our hearts for His incredible gift of becoming a teacher. Be encouraged this summer to purposefully plan how you can give joy in the upcoming school year and displaying this powerful fruit in your life. These are a few of my favorite verses of joy.
Psalm 16:11 - You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
John 15:11 - I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Psalm 30:5 - For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
How have you experienced joy in your classroom? What advice would you give others?
Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.