I firmly believe that parent’s are responsible for the spiritual discipleship of their children. That’s the way God set it up. Long before the church was instituted, the family was how faith was passed from one generation to the next. Parent’s have influence like no other force in child’s life, despite what you may have heard on the news, television, radio, or read in some Parenting Perfect magazine.
So, having a conversation about trusting in Jesus is really just one of many conversations in life-long discussion about living in faith.
Sometimes, as adults, we can overcomplicate this very simple gospel message. There are lots of tools out there a quick Google search will bring up. There are little books you can make of different colors, or bracelets, and each color has a verse, and a quick note about trusting in Jesus (black is sin, red is Jesus’ blood shed for us, He makes us white as snow, so we can be with Him in heaven-yellow, and be baptized in blue water, and grow green in Him every day).
There are ABC acrostics (Admit you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus and what He did for you, and Confess Him as your Savior). You can even use John 3:16 and your fingers.
The bottom line is, we need to share Jesus with our kids. You may not have shared Jesus with anyone else in your life, but that’s what Jesus wants us to do. So, why not start with your family? I know one thing: if I go through life and lead others to Jesus but never give that opportunity to my own family, I’m going to get it one day. That’s kind of irresponsible, isn’t it?
Help kids understand they are a sinner. Ask them if they have ever done anything wrong. They will probably tell you about some stuff you didn’t know about. They will also compare themselves to others and tell you how what they did wasn’t that bad. But it was still a little bad. And a little bad is still sin.
Help them know that God is holy and perfect. God is so holy that our sin is like taking steps away from Him. Because He is perfect, and we aren’t because we make mistakes, we keep moving further away from Him.
Our good works don’t bring us closer to Him. Being good is nice. But it isn’t good enough. Our sin is like building a brick wall. Nothing good we do can tear it down. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus came to rescue us. God knew we needed to be rescued. In fact, He wanted to rescue us because He loves. So Jesus, who is God’s Son, and is God, and is also perfect, came to pay the price for us. The penalty of sin was death, and Jesus died on the cross for us. But – he didn’t stay dead. What happened three days later? He rose again! Because He’s alive, I can be alive too if I ask Him to forgive me and I follow Him forever!
Jesus promises to forgive us if we ask Him. Asking Him to forgive us means we trust Him completely. We decide to follow Him and instead of doing what I want, I’m going to start doing what He wants.
Following Jesus means following Him forever. Following Jesus means that when I mess up, when I sin, I can ask Him to forgive me and to change my heart to not do those things anymore. It means that I can show love to people who need it. It means discovering God’s word, the Bible, to find out what He wants.
It’s at this point that some kids will understand and others may not be ready. I’ve talked with kids to this point many times, and I always ask, “What do you want to do now?”
This is an important wording, because you can talk a kid into almost anything. If I were to ask, “Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart and live with Him forever?” with a big smile on my face, I think every kid would say yes. But they may not be that child’s decision. And one day, when he/she is 20, and questioning everything as 20 year olds do, he/she may look back at that moment and remember it wasn’t their decision at all. Instead, they might look at that moment and say, “that wasn’t my decision. I was talked into it.” And I don’t want that millstone burden on my neck!
So, asking, “What do you want to do now?” leaves it open. Sometimes, I’ve talked to kids and they say, “I want to go outside and play.”
Sometimes they say, “I want to ask Jesus to forgive me.” Then we can talk more about that.
(to be continued…)