WHEN DO WE START?
“Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-3)
We are discussing the importance of our children receiving Christ as their Lord and Savior when they are young. A survey by the International Bible Society reveals that a whopping 83 percent of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus Christ between the ages of four and 14 years. That’s a very high percentage, isn’t it? Also, many who serve the Lord as missionaries have testified that they first felt God calling them to missionary service during that four to 14 age period.
The Barna Research Group shows adults aged 19 and over have only a six percent probability of becoming Christians.
Our Scripture says that Jesus “called a little child unto Him.” It means a “childling, infant, or half-grown child.” Jesus calls the little ones and we had better not stop them as Jesus stated emphatically in Matthew 19:14, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Can I quote Norman Williams again? “What goes into the child during the first six years will largely determine what that child will be in character and personality all the rest of his life! …From birth to about six, the child is tender, pliable, open and very impressionable. He will never again be so pliable and open as he is in these early years. After six, his character and personality will have a ‘set’ to them. God has made the child pliable and tender and open so that he might be molded toward God and His Word in the very foundations of his being by his parents. Whoever, whether God or the devil, wins these first six years in the life of child will lay the foundations of that child’s life—the one for good and blessing, and the other for ill and damnation!”
As I talk with mothers, and even home schooling mothers, I often find that although they have taught their children about salvation, they have not given them an opportunity to actually receive Christ into their lives—and some of these children are nearing teen years.
This is a great disadvantage. How do children learn to curb their fleshly nature without having Christ living in them? We all have two natures in us, the flesh and the Spirit. We ourselves are prone to giving into the flesh. What about our young children?
However, when they ask Jesus Christ to come into their life, He comes to dwell in them by His Spirit. The power of the cross of Jesus is not only that He died and shed His precious blood to save us from our sins, but that He also comes to dwell in us. He is the dwelling Christ—“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
This act of receiving Christ totally changes the lifestyle of your children. They now have Christ Jesus living in them to enable them to overcome sin and the fleshly nature. As we seek to do this in our own lives, we teach our children also. From an early age they learn to live in victory over the allurements of the flesh.
Is your child struggling with anger? Teach him that this is his fleshly nature that is trying to overcome him. It may be hard to say “No” to the anger in his own strength, but now He has Jesus Christ living within him to give him the power to say “No” to anger and “Yes” to Jesus, and to forgive instead. Teach him how to pray, “In the name of Jesus, I say “No” to this anger. Thank you, Lord Jesus that you live in me by the power of your Holy Spirit. I want you to reign in me. I yield to your patience, love, and forgiveness right now. Thank you, Lord Jesus for the victory. Amen.”
Is your child struggling with disobedience and stubbornness? Teach him to resist the devil. Teach him the habit of saying “No” to the work of the flesh and to pray, “Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you that you live in me. I thank you for your life of submission and obedience that reigns in me. I choose to allow your life to flow through me, right now. Amen.”
As your children learn to overcome in the little things in their lives while they are young, they will be on a pathway to saying “No” to the flesh and “Yes” to the Holy Spirit as a habit of their lives. They will be already in the habit and strengthened in Christ to say “No” to bigger temptations they will face later in life.
Of course, they will fail. We do too, don’t we? But we confess our sin, we are forgiven, we get up again, and seek to walk the truth of Romans chapter six. And we teach our children the same.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
Thank you, Father, for the power of your death on the cross for me. You died to save me from my sin and myself. You died to enable me to walk in victory. This truth is not only for grownups but for my children, too. I pay that each one of my children will come to a saving faith in you. Amen.”
I am setting my children on a path of victory.