“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen… And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:1, 6, ESV).
How Kids Think
“Can you prove it?“ Some kids are taught to believe that the scientific method is the ultimate test of validity. That worldview belittles people who believe in miraculous events, calling them simple-minded and uninformed. Faith is viewed as a weakness that cannot stand up to scientific reasoning. This is contrary to a child’s natural capacity for wonder, mystery, and belief in realities larger than him or her self. It is no wonder Christ held up a child’s faith as something valuable in the kingdom of God.
How God Thinks
Faith forms a bridge that connects truth and hope. At one end, the bridge of faith rests securely upon the tangible foundation of Scripture. The events revealed in the Bible are factual and historically reliable. We can teach our children to discover and explore the evidence and learn how science and history back up the Scriptures. On the other end, the bridge of faith reaches toward God’s intangible promises yet to come and trust in His character. Since the Bible defines faith as the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), children can possess unwavering belief that God is real, the Bible is true, and the Lord’s promises for the future can be trusted.
Five-year-old Jake worked hard to earn $20 by doing chores and cleaning around the house for mom. Very proud of his accomplishment, Jake had big plans for buying a soft brown hamster – his first pet.
Mom and Dad were beginning to teach Jake the value of tithing. After praying and seeking wisdom, they were led to ask their son to give a chunk of his money to the Lord. If Jake tithed, the purchase of a new pet would need to wait a few more weeks. At this request, dramatic tears erupted; this little boy wondered why God would ask such as difficult sacrifice! Would his plans for purchasing a hamster ever be possible? After continual reminders that the Lord is good, faithful, and worth saying “yes” to, Jake’s sadness lessened and he responded. With hesitant trust and growing expectancy, he gave half of the hard earned money away.
Two days later, a letter arrived in the mail with birthday money from Grandma —double the amount that Jake had given to God’s work! Mom and Dad rejoiced at the Lord’s kindness. Jake saw the gift as not just a present from Grandma, but as a present from the Lord showing His faithfulness and generosity. Jake’s faith soared!
Think about the process of learning to rock climb and how that relates to faith. Wonderful gear straps you in and keeps you firmly anchored to the rock. Yet, no matter how many times you have climbed, with those first steps your heart races even though the rope and the harness hold you secure. The more often you climb, the more you remember that the rope will hold. Your brain stops assessing how far the drop is and you begin focusing on the adventure ahead. Fear of falling diminishes and you are more willing to take risky, bold steps.
The same is true in your relationship with the Lord. The Scriptures show what God is like, but that truth does not change the way you live until you trust Him. This trust is expressed most fully when we choose to listen to God more than any other person or circumstances and we respond in view of what the Lord shows us in the Word and in prayer. It is such a delight to navigate life with faith in God’s existence and character—just as the presence of the rope allows the rock climber to enjoy their adventure without fear of falling.
What You Can Do
Faith is like a muscle—the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Expressing faith doesn’t require a long leap, but it does include short steps of practical trust.
To develop this trust, practice small steps of faith with your kids.
- Read Scriptures frequently (Romans 10:17). Look especially at the role of faith throughout the Gospels, and Abraham’s example of unwavering belief in the Lord’s promises (Romans 4).
- Pray expectantly (Matthew 21:22). Trust God to be faithful.
- Walk uprightly (Galatians 5:16). Help your child depend on the Spirit so he or she chooses God’s best rather than selfish desires.
- Trust in God’s strength (Proverbs 3:5-6). When your child is fearful or doubtful, encourage him or her to remember the Lord’s faithfulness through testimony and stories from your own life.
- Respond to the Lord’s commands (Matt 14:22-32). Keep your eyes on the Lord as you obey Him in new and difficult circumstances.
Discipleship Begins With Our Children
Children need meaningful, shared-life relationships. That’s the heart of discipleship. DiscipleLand’s family of Biblical resources forms a complete Children’s Discipleship System™ – an intentional, relational, and transformational process designed to help children know God intimately, love Him passionately, and to serve Him selflessly. Click here for your Free Fall 2013 Catalog