Making the Bible Real to Your Children
By Ruth Willms
I remember as a child, gathering in a circle in our huge dining room for family devotions. My dad, ever the Bible teacher, sat in the circle with us. Our family consisted of sixteen individuals: Dad, Mom and fourteen children. However, the time I’m remembering, two of my siblings were already married and another two were living on their own. Still, among the ten siblings present, there was a wide age range from about four years of age to twenty three. Yet, I think my dad presented Bible truths so each one understood and found it interesting.
He met us at our level. And that is what I think the answer is to making the Bible real to our children. We need to meet our children right where they are in their life right now, cognitively and spiritually and in all their interests. After all, that’s what God our heavenly Father did, didn’t He? He met us in our human form by sending us Jesus in human form.
If you want to teach your children of God’s great love for them you would show it differently to each age group. Even at two years of age and younger you portray God’s love by hugging your children and telling them you love them and Jesus loves them too. You plant seeds by telling them about Jesus and the children.
You enlarge on this fact when you romp on the floor with your older preschooler and then draw him close to you saying, “You are so special to me! And know what, you are special to Jesus too!”
When your elementary school age child rushes into your kitchen after school, heartbroken because his supposedly best friend told him to beat it, you hug him first, of course. But you remind him of the deeper love of Jesus that really fills him and matters at the end. Hopefully, you also remind him of his other good friends and family who think the world of him, as Jesus does.
Then there is your teenager. Since I found this stage the hardest as a parent I always want to say tread softly and cautiously with your teenager. That’s because I relate better to preschoolers or elementary aged children. You probably relate even better with your teenager then with your two year old who has temper tantrums for no reason at all.
During that teen age stage of my children I sometimes wanted to pile love on with fear. When they chose to do their own thing instead of what I was hoping for I felt like reminding them of Jonah. You know, the man who thought he was running away from God and hid in a ship. God showed His love by landing him in the belly of a big fish for three days. That was real time out. But He did it because He loved Jonah and knew he would mature to do great things for God. He really met Jonah at his level of understanding, don’t you think so?
Seriously, though, you need to do more that remind them that God loves them more than you do and accepts them unconditionally. You need to remind them that you love them and value them and accept them unconditionally too. Then you hope and pray they grow through this stage of rebellion too. And you know what? He is faithful. He usually does, but on His own terms not ours.
Ruth Willms writes Christian fiction and devotionals for kids aged 8 to 12. Want to know more about how God can help you every day? Visit Ruth at http://www.RuthWillms.com and read a sample chapter of her new book, The Lion Tree.