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Friday, November 22, 2013

Helping Children Learn About Salvation

I was recently asked this question…

“I have a friend who is trying to teach her daughter about faith. She has been in church all her life and has lots of head knowledge, but the heart is not giving so easily. How can I help my friend?”

While not a professional counselor, I had just experienced a scenario similar to this in my own home so I was able to share my own living example.

Here is my reply…

Dear Friend,

The truth that comforts me when working with my daughter is that no matter how hard we try, we cannot “save” someone. God gave us free-will and salvation is a gift that we each have the opportunity to accept. This is comforting because I know that God loves children and he is working very hard to draw my daughter to him.

God DOES, however, give us teachable moments.

Many times our special children are visual learners and spiritual truths are very hard for them to understand because many times they are abstract concepts. We need to give them visual pictures of spiritual truths.

An example of a teachable moment...

Yesterday, I was brushing my daughter's hair and she was starting to get grumpy. I started to talk to her... My conversation with her went something like this:

"Oh Kylie, Don't be grumpy. You need to keep your heart clean - do you know why? Because someday, when you give your heart to Jesus, He will come and live in your heart!”

I continued…”Do you know what makes your heart dirty? When we are grumpy, or unkind, or don't share with our friends... All those things make our hearts dirty, but you know what? When Jesus comes to live in our hearts, he brings a big broom and sweeps all that dirt away and washes us clean!! You want your heart to be clean don't you?”
... And on it went...I also explained to her that the more we fill our hearts with the things of Jesus (his words, talking and singing to him, obeying God’s rules), the less room there is for that icky dirt and we lose our desire to be yucky. We will WANT to be clean.

I would try to give your young friend visual images of the spiritual truths you are trying to convey. Lay it all out there but make it HER choice whether to pick them up or not. Many times when a child feels pushed into something, their natural tendency is to withdraw. We don't "need" to push; God will do all the work. This is the beauty of salvation by faith - no effort required, just His grace fully given.

Also, sometimes it is hard to "tell" with a child who learns differently if there is heart knowledge... don't be so sure she doesn't have any... just continually disciple her by giving her visual pictures, object lessons and don't push... bake together, paint together, talk about God's creation, the attributes of God and the goodness of God, but don't push.

The objects shown in the pictures embedded in this post would be very helpful to give a visual picture of how we “dirty” our heart and how Jesus will “clean” it. Click on the links to find out how to obtain them.

I also love the following pictorial objects to explain to children who God is.

The Father's Love Letter to Child

These next two go together: (click on the photos to print)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

II Corinthians 9:8

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