As a young girl I read the bible lesson where Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, and whispered the words, “Do not be afraid” into my soul. As I grew older I remembered these words whenever bad things happened in my life.
Through the bible, I knew I wasn’t alone. I believed my Heavenly Father and Jesus cared and loved me.
But I didn’t understand why Jesus had to die so brutally on the cross.
I wasn’t raised in a church and family members couldn’t explain. I attended a public school but the bible wasn’t part of the curriculum. Despite these circumstances, The Holy Spirit helped me understand that Jesus’ death was necessary to prove to the world that he was indeed God the Son, Jesus Christ.
In the same way small children run to their parents when something scary happens, I ran to Jesus. Just like children trust their parents to protect them. I trusted God to protect me.
I knew God would protect me because He rescued others from death. He drew a Hebrew baby from the Nile river and placed him into the arms of the Pharaoh’s daughter. Jesus raised a young girl from the dead. And he removed unclean spirits from several children.
Jesus welcomed children to draw near to His side even while he was teaching his disciples. This spoke deeply to my soul because I grew up in my grandma’s house where children played outside all day. Belonging to a large family the children’s table sat separated from the adult table. I heard adult conversation but wasn’t necessarily included.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”Mark 10:14 ESV
Jesus taught me children can accept salvation too. Listen to what Jesus said to his disciples:
“Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew 18:3)
I interpreted this to mean that little children are welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. So when our own sons accepted Christ, my husband and I debated whether our elementary school age sons really understood salvation.
When is a child old enough to commit their life to Christ?
If a child can explain the meaning of sin as any thought, word, or action that breaks God’s commands; they are almost ready for commitment to Christ. They also need to be able to explain that Jesus saves us from sin.
Due to my less than stellar bible education as a child, I was extremely nervous explaining a concept like salvation to anyone much less a young children.
If you fall into this category too, there’s no need to be intimidated. I discovered the Holy Spirit is a wonderful teacher who will help a child understand the relevance of Scripture. As long as you have a bible to read and are willing to listen to questions, you are qualified to explain salvation to anyone.
Once a child shows understanding, then they can be taught how to pray to ask Jesus for forgiveness. This is part of accepting Jesus and the child needs to understand that the prayer itself does not save them. If they sincerely asked Jesus to save them from punishment of their own sin, they receive salvation.
Important Truths to Teach Your Children
Mose’s mother only had the time during the weaning process to teach him his identity, who he belonged to, and lay the foundation for his character. In America, we tend to dismiss the importance of the early years between toddler and kindergarten and rely on preschool teachers to teach basic colors and numbers. Abstract concepts are thought to be developmentally inappropriate for young children. But Jill Drisboe in her book, Here Am I Lord, Send Someone Else, counters this thought process by saying, “Never underestimate the Holy Spirit!”
What Should young children learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
As a young mother, I had no idea what to teach. But during years of children ministry, I have learned how to share salvation with children. And even if you don’t consider yourself a teacher, may parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, select one to talk with children within their influence. If I only had a few short years to spend with a child, I would focus on teaching seven important truths.
- God created the stars, the jewels of the insects back, and all the wondrous beautiful sights of nature. He also created us.
The Bible says “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good.”Genesis 1:31
Sometimes children assign blame to themselves when they aren’t at fault. For example as a young child I believed I was the reason for my parent’s divorce. That wasn’t true.
There were other times when I shrugged off responsibility for my actions. Like when I slapped my brother because He broke my favorite China Doll.
2. While I felt he deserved it, I discovered sometimes people even me justify their own sins.
” If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:8 – 9
When we are heavy hearted about all the trouble in this world- unhappiness, evil crimes… our soul hurts because we were created to live in a world without sin.
During these times, I “run back to the garden.” This means I turn off the television, radio, and social media and step outside.
Sitting in nature and listening to the wind rustle the leaves in the treetops calms my soul. Feeling the wind dance across my skin and hearing the water ripple along the shore breathes peace into my inner being. The birds’ melodies sing of God’s plan which is to live an abundant life.
3. In order to live an abundant life, the first step is to accept Jesus into our lives.
“Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. “Revelation 3:20
As a young Jesus loving girl, I struggled obeying the ten commandments. I wanted to please God, but his way seemed so hard or “not fun.” I wanted to make my own decisions and do what seemed pleasing to me.
4. The bible shows sin is a problem for everyone.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.”Isaiah 53:6
Not only did I learn that my own way did not work! I discovered that not following God’s way is sin. And then I worried that I wasn’t really saved because obeying the Lord didn’t come easily to me. I expected everything to be easy after accepting the Lord.
During vacation bible school, a volunteer showed me where the Bible explains, how “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I wasn’t an evil person. But I was a sinner who cared more about pleasing myself than obeying God.
What to do about my sin?
How can I ever face anyone much less the Lord after what I’ve done?
Sin usually feels great in the moment. But afterwards a feeling of shame rolls over so thick, breathing is impossible. Phrases like, “You’re worthless” and “You deserve to be punished” play in an endless loop until I crumple. Crying until no tears remain in my red and puffy eyes brings no comfort.
But during times of repentance, God reveals how He has solved our sin problem.
5. God chose His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the world’s punishment for sin that we deserved. Sin must be punished. Jesus chose to die on the cross so we all could be forgiven.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”John 3:16
Jesus willingly endured the cross because he loves us all!
6. When a person accepts Jesus, they become part of God’s family.
The bible told me “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.John 1:12
As a child of God, we are expected to do things God’s way.
So what happens when we sin after accepting Jesus as Savior?
We learn to ask God day after day to forgive us whenever we do something that we know isn’t right.
We pray, ask God and Jesus to forgive us. Admitting the offense is a step forward towards true repentance. True repentance is not crossing our arms, pursing our lips, and shouting, “I’m sorry!”
7. Admitting responsibility for our actions and asking Jesus to help us change from doing this again is true repentance.
“For whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”Romans 10:13.
What happens after accepting Jesus as Savior?
Jesus doesn’t plan on leaving us as the same person when we first befriended him. With a friend like Jesus, a desire to be more like Him surfaces within us. Jesus positively influences and changes the way we think, the words we speak, and even our actions.
These changes take place when we read the bible. God spoke and the world was created. His words have power. The bible is the Word of God. Reading these words silently or aloud will powerfully affect your life.
Before reading, ask Jesus to help us learn. Through daily prayer Jesus will help us overcome difficult circumstances. Attending a Bible Believing Church and connecting with people who living according to the Scripture will also help us live in obedience to God.
What truths do you think are important for children to learn?
Leave a comment with a truth you learned as a child that stuck with you your whole life. Or add to my list truths that need to be taught to the next generation.
If you would like to receive a printable with bible verses that even young children can understand, click the link below to let me know where to send it. Below is a image of the document that you will receive by email:
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Briscoe, Jill. Here I am Lord Send Someone Else