Discipleship Truth: God has given parents primary responsibility for the spiritual training of their children. But few dads and moms know where to begin. Proverbs 1:7 provides the answer: start by teaching kids to fear the Lord. To know God, students must establish a healthy respect for Him. That’s the foundation stone for training children. Until kids genuinely respect and fear God, they cannot learn anything that is eternally valuable. Education begins with the pursuit of God—who He is, what He is like, what He has done (salvation), and what He is doing (sanctification).
True Story: Kay worked hard creating a special banner for the playroom. She strung twine with wooden clothespins across one wall, labeling each pin with a name or characteristic of God. Kay wrote the word good with clear scripted lettering. Then followed worthy, all-powerful, eternal—and many others. Finally, the line was filled with clothespins that described many of God’s amazing qualities.
Each morning, Kay modeled for 9-year-old, Jake how to spend time with God. Her son had participated in family devotions and worship several mornings each week since he was very small. Now Kay wanted to help Jake connect with God’s attributes—His wonderful character traits.
The first morning Kay and Jake listened to worship songs about God’s goodness—He always does what is best. Though some songs were new to Jake, together they learned the lyrics and worshiped the Lord. Next, they read several Psalms about God’s goodness. They discussed what it would be like to live every day, trusting God’s goodness. Each week, Kay focused on a different aspect of God’s character. The goal was for Jake to internalize his knowledge of the Lord and to deepen that friendship!
One week they learned about God’s role as Comforter—He consoles people who need strength and support. At that time, Jake was struggling with strong emotions of anger and helplessness. After a fight with his brother, Bryce, Jake stormed into the bedroom and glared at the ceiling. With two clenched fists, He looked desperately skyward. “God! I need to talk to Jesus! Can you send Him down here!” Kay heard Jake’s shout all the way from the kitchen. Through hot, angry tears, the 9-year-old poured out, “I am so frustrated at Bryce!” Jake ended with his sincere prayer.
As Kay watched Jake sidle down the hall—now calm and tired, she ran to envelop him in a bear hug. “Way to go buddy, you let God be your Comforter.” She smiled—grateful and amazed at Jake’s conduct during a rough experience. She continued, “Jake, many adults don’t know how to do what you just did. You poured out your heart to the Lord—and He comforted you!”
Jake’s choice showed Kay that his knowledge about God had worked its way into his life; he now embraced and internalized the Lord as his Comforter. Kay breathed a joyful sigh of gratitude; her investment of time and energy to help Jake know God more deeply was so worth it!
Action Step: Each week, focus on one facet of God’s amazing character: infinite (all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, eternal, unchanging, sovereign), majestic (light, life, glorious, beautiful, awesome, wise, worthy), upright (good, holy, truth, righteous, jealous, just), loving (patient, kind, humble, gentle, joyful, faithful), or active (generous, compassionate, merciful, gracious, responsive). Learn about each characteristic together. Use your Bible concordance (or the Internet) to do a simple word study. You may want to write a prayer reflecting on God’s character traits. Experience the Lord’s presence as you take time to read each prayer to each other. To know God intimately, explore each dimension of His unending perfection!
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.