Monday, January 24, 2011

Evidence of God Stirring in a Child

A few weeks ago on a Friday afternoon,  I got a visit from a little boy in our church.  He and his mom had been getting some supplies ready for our pre-school ministry that Sunday.  They had been driving into the church and he kept asking his mom questions about God, about heaven, and other spiritual matters.  Before she knew it, she asked him if he had wanted to talk to Jesus himself and ask Him to come into his life.  When he said "yes," she was thrilled and couldn't believe she was getting this opportunity to lead her son into a personal relationship with Jesus!  How awesome when a parent has that privilege.  Over the past month here at Grace, I've heard from several parents who have recently had an experience like this or who have had questions about how to know when their child would be ready.

I usually explain that our number one goal as parents or children's ministry leaders is to help our kids have a relationship with God--that's the bottom line!  Over helping them become a successful adult and learning to live wisely, we should desperately want our kids connected to the One who can help them do all those other things.  However, every person is on their own spiritual journey, and no parent can completely dictate when their child will have a personal faith of their own, so we need to be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit.

There are definite things we can do to encourage faith in children like praying with them, modeling a passionate, Spirit-led life in front of them, reading the Scriptures to them, and having them involved in a church where they will see God is alive and at work.   Those are crucial steps we must prioritize over everything else we do for our children.

When a child starts asking spiritual questions, I take that as a major sign that God is at work there.  Romans 3:10 states that no person seeks after God on their own, so if a person is asking questions, that is evidence of God at work in their hearts.  In fact, in John 6:44, Jesus says that no one will come to God unless he/she is being drawn by God.  So, again, when a child (or adult) starts asking questions about God or spiritual matters, that is evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives.

Then, it is time for us to really engage them with the Gospel and clearly give them a chance to respond to Jesus' invitation to make Him leader of their lives.  When you see God moving, don't wait around--jump on that chance and see what happens.

I will often ask probing questions to children (my own and children from our church) to see where they are with God.  If there is no interest, I just take that as a sign they're not there yet.  If they are interested and say things like, "I think about that a lot," then I know God is at work, and I join Him in that effort.  There is no greater joy in life than helping another person put their name in the Book of Life.  I'll don't think I'll ever get tired of that privilege--and neither should you!

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