Walk by the way: scripture application for kids.
My oldest, Jude, tends to remember everything. Every little detail. He is also the king of deep thinking and big questions. One day we were all just casually playing in Gwyn's room, when out of nowhere, Jude says, "Hey Mom. That one lady who lived to be 117, do you think she was a christian?" My quick and mindless response was, "I don't know Jude, why do you ask?" and he said, "Well, I just figured she must have really obeyed her parents because scripture says if you obey your parents you will live long in the land the Lord your God has given you."
I laughed so hard and marveled at the way he thinks. Kids are amazing. They are always listening and their brains are always digging for truth. So often we miss these unique opportunities to engage in conversation that will lead to moments of growth.
Encourage your children to ask questions and be available for them when they have the questions. This is something I am trying to be better with. Jude asks so many questions it can sometimes be exhausting, but I have come to look at it as opportunity for both our relationship and for his educational growth. When he asks me something obscure about an animal or something in history, instead of saying, "You know remind me and we will look that up later." I have been better about just dropping what I am doing (unless we are in the car) so that we can dig to find the answer together.
We want our kids to grasp the love of Christ. We want them to be curious and to discover and own their own relationship with the Lord. So where do you start? What does that look like?
1. Model scripture— It starts with you. Not in a sense of you leading a bible study with your kids. It starts with you getting into the word yourself. It starts with you loving God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength so it overflows into every aspect of your day. It starts by renewing your mind every day, all day long so that your kids can see the love of Christ. To be able to genuinely and effectively show your kids the love of Christ, I fully believe that you need to have the words of God written on your heart and overflowing from your tongue so that you can be ready to speak truth into every moment of your day.
While I was at church our pastor was talking about how so much of what we do derives from emotion and how we feel that day. If we feel like working out, if we feel like eating well, if we feel like reading our Bible. Then he said this, "We reduce our spiritual activity to the way we feel." (Pastor John Lindell) Here is the issue with this as a Mom; your children should not suffer in spiritual, personal or developmental growth because YOU do not feel like getting into the Word, or working out or eating well. Create the habit so it becomes a part of your life and not just something you do when you feel like it.
Every day you have the responsibility to disciple your children. What a privilege!
Teaching scripture should not be in a condescending way so that they are resentful toward you, but as a parent your job is to lovingly guide them toward love, grace, forgiveness and applying scripture in a biblical world-view so they can not only hear God's truth, but also apply it to their lives and learn how to stand firmly on truth for themselves.
2. Read scripture—Since I did not grow up in Church, I had always tried to make a hard pass on the Old Testament stories. I used to get frustrated because I did not understand them and I got lost in the names. When you stick with reading the scripture, and even reading books geared toward children, you will have new eyes that will reveal so much more than you could imagine. I love going through devotion times with the kids because I am often most excited by the new things that are revealed to my heart and the pieces I am able to put together. I love children devotional books and I end up getting so much out of them and feel incredibly encouraged with the way God lovingly reveals himself and makes his word come alive for me to be able to be excited to share with my kids.
Some of our favorite family devotions are: Jesus Storybook bible, Jesus Calling, 5 minute Bible Devotions, Bible app.
I really loved the My Father's World curriculum mostly because the way they wove in bible teaching and application for the kids.
When my niece and nephew come over, they always ask to do the "Jesus app" and that makes my heart so happy. Watching God work in the heart of a child is beautiful.
3. Write scripture—I love challenging the kids to memorize a scripture every week. I will often give Jude an option as to what he wants to do for his writing assignment, and I love when he chooses to write out our weekly scripture. Then we clip it to the refrigerator and go over it all week long. It is really impressive on how they can so easily memorize and retain the information. More so, when they are hearing it over and over and living out the scripture. If your kiddos are too young to write out scripture, have them draw pictures or act it out! The kids will have a blast and you will treasure those memories together.
"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again'; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." -G.K. Chesterton—Orthodoxy
The important thing to keep in mind here, is that each child will learn and absorb at a different rate. Jude has always been more hungry for God's word and has always asked tough questions and retains all the information and has a solid and firm foundation. Lila is my little lady who takes it all in and asks very few questions. She loves quiet time and she absorbs a lot through music and worship songs and enjoys being in God's presence more in those settings than any other.
Know your kids and delight in the things they delight in so they will love the Lord with joy and passion!
I believe the more you surround yourself with God's word and teaching, the more you will overflow with characteristics of Christ and you will be able to sow His word into your child in a manner that will not seem forced or out of place, but in a manner that is organic and deep. Kids are always observing you and their surroundings and the things they see important in your life, will become important in their life as well.
You are sowing seeds of righteousness that will bloom in God's perfect timing!
"Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
These are not the only ways to apply scripture and lead your kids to have a relationship with the Lord on their own. Share with me what you love to do with your kids! What are some of your favorite devotionals for kids? We are in this together friends, continue to watch over the activities of your household and never become idle in the battle for your kids hearts toward Christ! Praying for you and with you.